Home Dehradun Forest Dept keeping tab on poachers: Subodh Uniyal

Forest Dept keeping tab on poachers: Subodh Uniyal

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By Arun Pratap Singh

Dehradun, 5 June: Forest Minister Subodh Uniyal today claimed that most of the deaths of tigers in the state were natural and due to old age.

He was speaking on the occasion of World Environment Day to the media. He added that the department is continuing its crackdown on poachers and also using drones to keep a tab on the movement in the forest area.

Uniyal was responding to a question regarding a media report that 13 tigers had died in suspicious manner in Corbett Tiger Reserve over the past few years. Uniyal clarified that the number of tigers in the state was rising steadily which is a matter of great satisfaction.

It may be recalled that the last tiger census was carried out in India, including Uttarakhand, in 2018. In Uttarakhand, the tiger population was identified to be 442, while the tiger population in the state in 2008 was stated to be just 179. Uniyal asserted that due to special conservation efforts and constant monitoring against poaching, the tiger population in the state had risen sharply. He reiterated that the figures of tiger census of 2022 in Uttarakhand and in the rest of the country have not been released as yet. He asserted that the state expects a significant increase in the tiger population in the tiger census as and when the data is released. Uniyal however admitted that deaths of some tigers under suspicious circumstances are a matter of concern but the forest department is fully alert to this.

It may be recalled that the recent death of a tiger in Corbett is causing concern in the department and sources say that the Forest Minister has taken a serious view of the same. This tiger was allegedly caught in a trap set by poachers and could not survive following serious injury. Uniyal stated that an investigation has been ordered in this case and the inquiry report is awaited. While admitting that some poachers are reportedly active in Corbett and surrounding areas, he added that several arrests of suspected poachers have also been made in past few months. Special teams of the forest department are monitoring the activities through drones and regular physical surveillance.

Meanwhile, Chief Wildlife Warden Dr Sameer Sinha stated that, so far, this year, 12 tigers have died in the state. Most of the deaths occurred in the Central Terai region. Most of the deaths have occurred in mutual conflict or accidents. No part of the tigers has been found missing in every single death. The department is alert to these figures and the Chief Conservator of Forests, Kumaon, has been asked to submit an inquiry report in these matters soon.

In the media interaction held today at Hotel Aketa on Rajpur Road, here, the minister and the PCCF spoke and some audio visual presentations were also made regarding the activities carried out by the state forest department.