The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has confirmed the presence of tigers in high-altitude areas of four Indian states of Sikkim, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh, in a study submitted to the environment ministry.
Camera trapping has shown tiger presence in Kedarnath (Uttarakhand) at about 3,600 metres above sea level. In Sikkim also their presence has been confirmed at about 3,300 metres above sea level.
“We now have concrete evidence that tigers are present in high altitude areas of all four states. The study was to understand tiger presence in high altitude regions of Nepal, Bhutan and India. In all three regions tigers are there in the higher reaches. We are not sure if they reside there or are moving from other places. That will be verified in the second part of our study,” said Nishant Verma, deputy inspector general, NTCA and nodal officer of the project.
The team has studied secondary data, conducted interviews with local people and used camera traps to ascertain tiger presence.
The environment ministry will use a study on the status of tiger habitats in high altitude ecosystems to have a high altitude tiger master plan, a statement by the ministry on Tuesday said.
“The instant situation analysis study provides the rationale for stepping up high altitude conservation of the tiger, while identifying possible viable habitats, corridor linkages, anthropogenic pressures, and induced landscape level changes for evolving an in-situ conservation roadmap,” the statement said.
The study is led by the Global Tiger Forum with range country governments of Bhutan, India and Nepal.
“This provides the action strategy for a high altitude tiger master plan, with gainful portfolio for local communities and ensuring centrality of tiger conservation in development, trough an effective coordination mechanism, involving stakeholders and line departments operating within the landscape,” the statement added. (Hindustan Times)