Palamu , Feb 16 (ANI) : The decline in number of tigers at the Palamu Tiger Reserve in Jharkhand is due to the presence of poachers and Maoists in the area, according to forest officials.
The tiger reserve, extends over an area of 1,100 square kilometers and is accessible by both poachers and the Maoists, which may have led to the decline in numbers.
The rangers also said that poachers threaten them regularly against complaining to the authorities, and suggested the administration may just turn a blind eye to such activities.
"The poachers come with guns to the forests to hunt the tigers. Once they had warned us if we would inform anybody about them, they would kill us. Even if we inform the provincial authorities, they are hardly going to chase the poachers," said Mohammad Qazi Sharif, a forest ranger.
Earlier, the Palamu Tiger Reserve had around 50 tigers, which has decreased in the recent years.
In 2007, the number of tigers was around 17 but as per the observations in 2007-08, tiger deaths have gone up and only six tigers are left in the reserve.
Paritosh Upadhyay, the Director of the Palamu Tiger Reserve, said natural deaths may also be a cause for the decline in tiger numbers.
"There have been natural deaths but in the past three years, but we have not received any such reports. There is a possibility that some tiger deaths have gone undetected. It could be because of that, there is a decrease in numbers," said Upadhyay.
According to the Wildlife Protection Society of India, there have been 84 tiger deaths, by both natural and poaching causes in 2009-10.(ANI)