Can you spot the Tiger in this picture? Image from Dampa Tiger Reserve goes viral
New Delhi, June, 16: Don't scroll past, you are looking at a historic image! The first photographic record of a tiger in Mizoram's Dampa Tiger Reserve in seven years! Can't see it? Look at a little closer and leave a comment when you find it, says a post on Instagram by sanctuaryasia.
The post further says that the camera trap that got this golden image was placed by forest guard Zakhuma Don. A veteran conservationist, Zakhuma has patrolled Dampa's forests for many years and has guided stalwarts such as scientist T R Shankar Raman of @ncf.india. Zakhuma is also an alumus of @greenhub_india and Sanctuary's own Mud on Boots Project. He is also the inspiration behind writer @sejalmehta06' children's storybook 'Walking in the Wild', which is beautifully illustrated by @barkhalohia, the post further reads
Zakhuma set up the camera trap (borrowed from WII) in February 2021, and retrieved it three months later in mid May. When going through the images, he found the picture of the tiger and sent it forward to the authorities for confirmation. Wildlife Institute of India's Department of Endangered Species Management ultimately confirmed that Zakhuma has indeed photographed a tiger in Dampa, the post also said.
The reserve has been plagued by administrative issues, including low and delayed wages to ground staff. It has also been referred to as a "tiger reserve without tigers" after the last census in 2018 brought forth no proof of the big cat's presence. Despite these challenges, Dampa's ground staff have been exemplary in their conduct. In a news article published in The Assam Tribune, Zakhuma said:
"This proves that hard work done by me and my fellow guards, who are being paid measly wages, has not been futile."
At Sanctuary, we believe in the power of grassroots conservation. Zakhuma is just one of many such conservationists who have received support from Sanctuary's Mud on Boots Project. The project focuses on those individuals whose conservation leadership potential is overlooked by large organisations and government agencies because of limitations such as the lack of academic qualifications, access to technology or language barriers, santuaryasia also said.