Ranchi: The confusion is still hovering on the number of tigers in the Palamau Tiger Reserve which has been a matter of contradiction for some time now. Despite using night vision cameras to confirm the exact number of tigers in the reserve, the puzzle remains unsolved.

During six months of video footage by 21 cameras, only three tiger images were captured while two images were said to be of the same tiger. However, the second scat analysis report sent to Guwahati confirmed six tigers with the Forest Department claiming a total of 14 tigers to be living in the reserve.

In spite of the mega efforts under Project Tiger, the number of tigers in the reserve remains at two, a male and a female.

Meanwhile, the Forest Department sent the scat analysis report to Wildlife Genetics laboratory of Aaranyak in Guwahati. The department sent 150 scat samples of which 38 were found to be of a tiger. The report confirmed it to be of six tigers present in the reserve.

However, AK Gupta, Chief Forest Conservator (Wildlife) claimed, “Many of the samples were spoiled and the tiger population in the reserve remains at 14. The reserve is spread in a vast area while the cameras have been installed in some selected areas only, due to which it is not possible to capture all the tigers in the camera.”

However, the data released by the Forest Department recite a different story. According to the department, there were 42 tigers in 2006-07 which fell to 17 in 2008-09 and the number has dropped even further to 14.

JPN/Bureau