Lakhimpur: The dwindling population of big cats in the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is a cause of concern, but the wildlife experts find a silver lining, saying if government takes concrete efforts, the decline in the tiger population could be checked.

Dudhwa forest had earned the tag of a national park on February 1, 1977. Dudhwa and Kishanpur Sanctuary were merged to form Dudhwa Tiger Reserve in 1987.

After the tiger reserve project started, the Dudhwa administration displaced majority of the villagers in the forest to far flung areas, which is said to have weakened the bond between wildlife and villagers and they have developed a habit of killing wildlife.

Suheli river is considered another big cause for the dwindling tiger population. The flood in the river affects large area of the reserve that brings big trouble for the wildlife.

Also, the vast area of the forest turning barren creates problems for the tigers. The dense forest provides a major cover to them and their habitat. A large number of trees in the forest have dried out.

Notably, in 1997, 66 square kilometer area of Dudhwa was brought under the protection. Currently, the protected area of the Dudhwa reserve accounts for 884 square kilometer.