KOCHI: The tiger population in Kerala has soared 40 per cent in the last four years, according to the Tiger Census data released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. While the state reported sighting of 136 tigers in the 2014 survey, the number climbed up to 190 in 2018, as per the latest survey report.
The state which had only 46 tigers in its forests in 2006, reported a steep increase in population of the terribly beautiful feline during the ensuing years. The number rose to 71 in 2010 and 136 in 2014. As per the survey conducted by the Forest Department under the Tiger Monitoring Programme, the state had 176 tigers in 2016.
The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary continues to be the safest haven for the big cat in Kerala. The sanctuary spread across 344.44 sq km area is home to around 80 tigers. “The tiger population in Wayanad has been thriving thanks to our conservation efforts. Apart from anti poaching drive, we have introduced a habitat management initiative, where invasive plant species are weeded out. Steps are being taken for voluntary relocation of people living in the forest area. Check-dams have been built to ensure availability of water in the deep forests,” Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) B N Anjan Kumar. told Express.According to him, the Forest Department had to relocate four tigers in the last two years after they strayed into human habitats.
“The tiger population in Periyar Tiger Reserve(PTR) has remained stable and as per survey reports we have around 35 tigers here,” said PTR Field Director Georgi P Mathachen. “According to the report, we have 3.25 tigers per 100 sq km which is robust. The department has been initiating steps to reduce human interference in the reserve forest. The survey was conducted over a period of one year. The tiger population in PTR is less compared to Wayanad as this is an evergreen forest. Tigers need grasslands and dry vegetation,” he said.