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Tigers roar silenced in Gujarat

GUJARAT – Its official. The roar of the majestic tiger has been silenced forever in the state.

If census reports of 1992-93 and 1997 had raised hopes that these Scheduled-I animals might still be lurking in some parts of Gujarat, the recently-concluded Tiger Census of 2001 has made official, what forest officials and wildlife enthusiasts were loath to admit. Tigers – found in abundance in Gujarat from Valsad to Banaskantha till the 1950s – are now extinct. Four years after the 1997 census, that recorded pug marks of a tiger, the forest department has not come across any tiger sightings.

Forest department officials admitted that their hopes slim as they were to come across tigers during the 2001 census had been dashed. “Tigers are now extinct from Gujarat”, they said ruefully.

Speaking to Times News Network, a senior official said: “Its disappointing but not surprising. There has been a gradual loss of tiger habitat in Gujarat. The 2001 census shows that they have not even strayed into Gujarat from neighbouring states during last four years.”.

The 1997 census had recorded the presence of one tiger, while the 1992-93 census had recorded pug marks of five tigers.

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