Tiger sighted in Gujarat after 35 yrs, becomes only state in India to host 3 big cat species

Vadodara: The presence of a tiger has been confirmed in Gujarat after 35 years. A tiger was last seen in south Gujarat’s Dang forests in 1983 but disappeared and every four-year surveys by the forest department later ruled out big cat’s presence anywhere in the state.

According to the forest department, the tiger was seen in the forests of Santrampur in Mahisagar district. A survey has been started to find out if there are tigers in other areas of the state. With this, Gujarat has become the only state in the country to host all the three major big cats: lions, tigers and leopards. Gujarat forest minister Ganpat Vasava said the the image of a 7 to 8-year-old tiger was caught in the night vision cameras for the first time in about 35 years.

Teacher first spotted tiger on Feb 8

A government school teacher, Mahesh Maherao, had reported having spotted the tiger near Boriya village in Lunawada taluka on February 8. Maherao was returning home from the school in Boriya when he noticed a tiger near a state highway road. He clicked photographs of the tiger with his mobile. After this, the forest department had started gathering information about the big cat. They launched a search operation with 200 jawans in 59,000 hectare area of Lunavada and Santrampur.

Night vision cameras captured footage of tiger

Officers recognised the presence of tiger in the forests by its foot prints and droppings. The nail marks of the tiger were found on the trees in the forest of Santrampur. Five night vision cameras were installed and the footage of a tiger and leopard was captured. Deputy forest conservator RM Parmar said, “We can proudly say that there is a tiger in Mahisagar district. A survey was conducted in 54 villages of Santrampur on Tuesday.” This was achieved with the help of Hyderabad, Gandhinagar and Dehradun science labs.

Where did the tiger come from?

It is believed that the tiger has come here from the Ratapani sanctuary of Madhya Pradesh, barely 50 km from Bhopal. The tiger covered a distance of about 500 km to Gujarat. It is the second longest recorded dispersal.

How the big cat completed the journey?

It is being speculated that the tiger travelled along the banks of river Narmada and then entered Gujarat and moved towards Santrampur. During the journey it avoided people and might have survived on livestock and wild animals like wild pig and blue bull.

Is there only one tiger?

At present, there is evidence of presence of only one tiger.

Can tourists go to Santrampur to see tiger?

No, there is a restriction on entering the forest at present.