Providing a boost to the bio-diversity in Kaziranga National Park (KNP), numbers of tigers here have increased from 83 in 2014 to 104 this year. In an exclusive conversation with Eclectic Northeast, Satyendra Singh, Director of Kaziranga National Park (KNP) attributed the increase to a healthy prey base in the park.
Singh said, ‘Presently, KNP has a very healthy prey base for tigers. There are more than 30,000 deers in the park. Also, we have more space in the park now as we have evicted the encroachers. Increase of tigers is a natural process and we have ensured that there is no disruption in that process.’
Regarding the prey base, he said, ‘Tigers mainly prey on sambar, barking deer, hog deer and wild boars. They also kill buffalo calves and even rhino calves. In fact, killing of rhino calves is not very uncommon and it happens once a month. Tigers sometimes also stray to fringe villages and kill cattle.’
Singh said that no tiger has been poached in Kaziranga in recent past, though two were poisoned last year. ‘ The tigers were poisoned by the villagers after their cattle were killed. We call it retaliatory killing’ he said.
He also said that tigers are in a better condition than leopards in Kaziranga. ‘ Leopards actually thrive more in the tea garden areas. They struggle to adapt in Kaziranga which is a riverine area.’