Camera-trapping quashes rumours of second tiger in Nagaland

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Kolkata, March 22 (IANS) Camera-trapping data has quashed reports of presence of a second tiger in Nagaland’s Medziphema village where a big cat was recently killed by locals, a Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) statement said on Tuesday.

The state forest department, WCS and Nagaland Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation Trust had set up camera-traps near the kill-site and around the village where the presence of a tiger was reported by the locals.

“It is unlikely that there is a resident population of tigers in the area. There is habitat for tigers, but little prey,” Varun Goswami, scientist at the WCS India Programme, who led the effort, said in a statement.

A week of camera-trapping with 17 units allayed fears of any tiger’s presence, he said.

“Tigers, however, can disperse into Nagaland from multiple directions — the forests of Karbi Anglong towards the northwest, or perhaps, Myanmar to the southeast,” said Goswami. In fact, on closer interaction, residents of Medziphema revealed that tigers do occasionally pass through the area.

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A dispersing tiger, which landed in Medziphema, a small village near Dimapur, was shot dead by panic-stricken villagers on February 29. Tigers have not been officially recorded from the area in over a decade.

Two days later, residents of the same village claimed another tiger in their area after three youth walking in a nearby forest reported catching a fleeting glimpse of a large, cat-like animal that they had surprised while it was feeding on a wild pig.

Tigers can move large distances when they are dispersing, according to Ullas Karanth, renowned tiger expert from WCS.

“Our long term research shows evidence of tigers travelling up to 300 km or more,” he added.

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