Oct 12, 2011 at 10:57am IST

Zoo park stripped of striped beauty

HYDERABAD: At a time when the decreasing tiger count in the state has been of much concern, the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad lost Karuna, a 24-year-old Royal Bengal Tiger. The average life span of the Bengal Tiger is about 15-20 years. Karuna died of senility and multiple organ failure on Sunday.
The Nehru zoo park has 13 yellow tigers and 7 white tigers. The total number of tigers in AP zoos is about 46, including 7 yellow tigers and 9 white tigers at the Visakhapatnam zoo, 2 yellow tigers and 8 white tigers at the Tirupati zoo. The AP Forests and Wildlife Conservation department is setting out on yet another tiger count exercise from the first week of November which will continue till December-end.
“We will use hi-tech tracing cameras to get accurate statistics,” chief conservator of forests and chief wild life warden, Hitesh Malhotra said. Currently, 40 cameras are setup at the Nagarjunasagar- Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR).
Two hundred more will be added to this number. Fifty cameras will be set up at the Kawal Sanctuary, recently recognised as the Kawal Tiger Reserve, according to the chief conservator of forests. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and the Compensatory Afforestation, Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) will arrange funds for the project.
AK Naik, conservator of forests of AP, who is leading Project Tiger, said the cameras will be installed in pairs at strategic points like water bodies in the forests. Whenever a tiger moves in the vicinity, sensors of the camera detect its presence and the photo is captured. Since each tiger has unique body stripes, the number of tigers in a particular area can be ascertained. As per the India tiger estimate 2010 by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the number of tigers in the country is 1,706, while in Andhra Pradesh, it is seventy.