GUWAHATI: In what could be termed as a positive development in the field of wildlife in the Northeast, tigers from the region have got the highest rating for conservation. This has been revealed in a detailed report of the Tiger Census released recently by the .
"This seems most relevant as these tigers (from NE) are likely to share their gene pool with the most critically-endangered subspecies, that is, Panthera tigris corbetti (Indochinese tiger), that exists in Myanmar. Conservation investments for Namdapha tiger reserve, Kamlang tiger reserve and for making Dibang wildlife sanctuary tiger reserve are of paramount priority," the 656-page report said.
"The landscape of Karbi Anglong that connects the only source population (Kaziranga tiger reserve) in the NE-Plains to the southern tiger habitats of Intanki in Nagaland and Dampa tiger reserve in Mizoram is of conservation priority and needs major investments," the report said.
The report has emphasized that standards for tiger conservation should transcend beyond just increasing tiger numbers.
Quoting the Centre's report a wildlife activist said there is a need to conserve the entire gene pool of extant tiger populations to retain the species ecological and evolutionary potential.
"We need to identify tiger populations that are genetically diverse and divergent, and consider the vulnerability of such populations to extinction, to prioritise conservation investments," the wildlife activist said.
The North Eastern Hills and Brahmaputra Flood Plains landscape extends across parts of Northern West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland. "The tiger population of this landscape is genetically unique likely because of gene flow with south-east Asian tiger populations of Myanmar. Thus, the North Eastern tigers have a great evolutionary significance. This region has several other important species, which are threatened and endemic to this landscape as well," the report said.
According to wildlife activists the Northeast has two important tiger conservation units (TCUs). While the first one is the Buxa-Manas Tiger Reserve, stretching across Bhutan to Arunachal Pradesh in the Northeast, the other includes the Kaziranga Tiger Reserve in Assam and stretches up to Meghalaya.
"Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh has a very promising future in terms of tiger conservation with the help and will of the local community," a wildlife activist said.
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