India Travel
Radio collars to monitor tigers
May 1, 2007 - 8:32:10 AM

Jaipur, May 1 - Rajasthan, under fire for the massive poaching of its tigers, plans to improve the big cat's safety with radio collars as well as a joint forest department-police cell.

With help from the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India, the state forest department has fitted a radio collar around a 24-month-old tiger cub in the Ranthambore national park.

It will help to monitor tigers in the park, a forest official said.

'With radio collars in place, we will be able to monitor the animal's activities. We plan to put collars on two more tiger cubs,' L.N. Dave, the Rajasthan forest minister, told IANS here.

Radio collars will help us trace the habitat, travelling patterns and eating habits of tigers, he said. 'It would also be good for the safety of tigers.'

He added that a detailed study of the behaviour of male tigers would also be undertaken.

The Rajasthan government is also planning a Tiger Cell to be manned jointly by police and forest officials.

Forest officials said the cell was likely to be headed by the additional director general of police.

'Once operational, the cell will not only check poaching activities and launch probes into poaching cases but will also investigate people considered potential threats to the survival of tigers,' the officials said.

Conservationists say the number of tigers in Rajasthan has dropped alarmingly in recent years, mainly due to poaching.

A Wildlife Institute of India report in 2005 said that there were no cats left in the Sariska tiger reserve.

While an official census conducted in 2004 said that 16 to 18 tigers lived in the reserve, no animal has been sighted from the middle of the year.

Even the Comptroller and Auditor General of India - has castigated the state government for failing to save its tigers.

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