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Tigers and elephants in Uttarakhand (17th Jan 2016) : The number of elephant and tigers in Uttarakhand has risen and brought cheers to the animal enthusiasts, forest officials and many others. The front which is lacking in this regard is the protection of these animals especially those living outside protected areas.

The government has yet to take a decision on constituting the Anti – Poaching Cell to check wildlife crime. Wildlife enthusiasts and experts are worried of the delay in certain programs to be implemented by the government.

Two seizure of animal parts within a month have shocked wildlife enthusiasts. On December 15, a tiger skin was seized and on January 14, 5 kg ivory was seized, both from US Nagar district. These incidents indicate the vulnerability of the animals.

The All India Tiger Estimation 2014 report was released in January, 2015 revealed a whopping increase of 113 tigers compared to last census done in 2010 (227). The state recorded 340 tigers after Karnataka which listed 406 tigers. Tigers in Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) too increased from 190 in 2010 to 220 this year, according to the reserve management.

Nearly 80% of the tigers in state were reported from outside protected area. On similar lines, census conducted in June 2015 reported 1,797 elephants while the number was only 1,346 in 2007.

As per an NGO, “It’s good news that the population of tigers and elephants is increasing. However, intelligence-based enforcement is critical in the state.” The poachers would focus on areas which have a healthy population of wild animals.

As per a forest government official, the proposal to form an Anti-Poaching Cell has already been submitted for consideration. To stem the rise of poaching, it is necessary that a well planned strategy should be laid involving all the necessary steps like increasing the staff, providing better equipment etc. Hopefully, in near future we shall hear some good news on this front.

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 The Char Dhams of Uttarakhand