Bijnor divisional forest officer Salil Shukla said, “The number of tigers is increasing in the Bijnor forests. In fact, tigers are pushing leopards out of Amangarh tiger reserve. There is a possibility that tigers, due to their growing numbers, might succeed in terrorizing elephants in their bid to dominate the jungle. In such a scenario, we might see more of such attacks.” On Saturday evening, a group of tigers surrounded and killed a young elephant after hours of fierce struggle. What was even more surprising that the big cats were seen eating the carcass of the ten-year-old elephant.
According to forest department, there are 215 tigers and 1,300 elephants in Corbett National Park. “It seems the battle of the survival has begun here due to growing population of both animals in the area. This also happens in other parts of the world,” said Joel Lyall, author of Tiger Tales, who lives in Bijnor.
The divisional forest authorities had earlier claimed that tigers from Corbett were moving to Bijnor’s Amangarh reserve and driving away leopards into human habitat. The leopards, authorities say, are scared of tigers and are moving outside Bijnor’s Amangarh in the areas of human population. Several leopards have been sighted in Bijnor villages in the past fortnight and two of them even died in road accidents.
Talking about the impact of the increased tiger population on leopards in the area, the DFO said, “There are over 100 leopards in the forests of Bijnor district. Leopards are scared of tigers. In a straight fight, they stand no chance. To assert their dominance over a territory, tigers often kill leopards. Tigers even end up eating leopards sometimes. To get away from tigers, leopards enter human territory and pose a threat to farmers. A leopard was found lying dead on Dhampur-Bhutpuri Road on January 4 and then another on January 8. They had both died in accidents.”