Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Too many tigers push out leopards from Amangarh Tiger Reserve

With the tiger population at the Amangarh Tiger Reserve having increased substantially, leopards are being pushed out of forests.

According to the latest census, the number of big cats has risen from 21 mature tigers and six cubs in 2021 to 28 adults and four cubs now. A decade ago, there were just 12 tigers in this region.

According to officials, a single big cat, highly territorial by instinct, rules over an area of eight-odd sq km. The reserve is big enough to house a maximum of 12 tigers, and the felines are gradually moving to other forest ranges, which is a concern for the authorities.

Shrinking territory has made leopards venture out of the forest more frequently, and experts believe it is one reason why over 35 leopards have been captured in human habitats and 16 people have been killed in attacks by them.

Recently, a tiger killed an elephant calf in the Badhapur range, which is known for being dominated by jumbos.

Besides, the 20-odd villages on the fringes of the reserve that are already under pressure because of the rising leopard population are also under threat now.

Experts say that the natural habitat of big cats is shrinking and territorial wars among tigers are inevitable. They have suggested that more areas be declared as forest reserves to curb cat fights and avert man-animal conflict.

Bijnor sub-divisional forest officer, Gyan Singh said, “Tigers are thriving here because the ATR has a large prey base. We have found that the big cat’s territory is shrinking – more than one tiger’s presence has been recorded in the same territory. Apart from sharing territories, tigers are also creating new territories in different areas such as Shahuwala, Badhapur and Kaudiya ranges, where they were rarely seen earlier.”

“Over the past couple of years, the rise in tiger numbers has resulted in leopards being pushed out of the forests into sugarcane fields nearby, posing a threat to the farmers,” said the official.

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