Goa could have a tiger zone, if more cats are spotted: Official

Panaji, May 7 (IANS) The Goa forest department is considering setting up a tiger zone, if more tigers are mapped in the state’s three wildlife sanctuaries which run contiguous and are part of the Western Ghat region, a top official said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters here, Chief Conservator of Forests Richard D’Souza said the sighting of one tiger at the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary, which was photographed using motion sensor-enabled cameras, was a sign that tigers were part of Goa’s fauna.

“What we are trying to find out is where are all the tigers in the Western ghats. Once we establish that and if there are tigers everywhere, then we will have to propose a tiger zone,” D’Souza said.

Goa has five wildlife sanctuaries, out of which three — Mhadei, Netravali and Bhagwan Mahaveer — are contiguous and part of the evergreen Western Ghat region.

The union ministry for environment and forests has already asked the state government to send a proposal to make the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary a tiger reserve, Environment and Forests Minister Jayanthi Natarajan told parliament Monday.

The Mhadei sanctuary has already seen two tigers — one dead and another alive. A tiger was poached in the sanctuary in 2009, while last week the forest department caught a live tiger on camera, establishing for the first time the presence of the striped cat in Goa’s jungles.

D’Souza further said that the forest department had tied up with the New Delhi-based wildlife protection society for an elaborate four-year programme to capture images of tigers in the state’s forests.

“The programme will stretch up to 2017,” he said.

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