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Himachal Pradesh celebrates as tiger spotted for first time in Simbalbara National Park

Camera trap snaps the tiger in Himachal Pradesh's Simbalbara National Park (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@dfowlshimla)

Himachal Pradesh has a lot to celebrate especially wildlife lovers and forest officials, as for the first time a tiger was captured on camera. The big cat was clicked by a camera trap in the State’s Simbalbara National Park located in Paonta Valley in Sirmaur district.

The image posted by the Shimla Wildlife Division on Twitter has gone viral.

SNP which is spread over 27 sq. km. has dense Sal forests and grassy landscape and supports an array of bird and wildlife species including spotted deer, barking deer, sambhar, nilgai, wild boar and other mammals.

Talking about the tiger presence N. Ravisankar, Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife) told the media that last month the pugmark of tiger was spotted close to SNP. To confirm its presence, eight camera traps were set up at various locations. This yielded results as one of them captured the tiger documenting its presence for the first time and bringing cheer to wildlife enthusiasts.

While forest department officials feel that the movement of the feline is between SNP and Kalesar National Park located close by in Haryana, they are certain that it has come from Uttarakhand’s Rajaji National Park. As per Ravisankar the decrease in Yamuna River water flow probably allowed the animal to reach SNP from RNP.

Further, that the tiger could reach Himachal Pradesh behoves well as it shows the continuity of RNP-KNP-SNP thus making it important to preserve the route. In the past these three national parks were well-connected tiger corridors.

Many experts also suggest that climate change which has resulted in altering habitats of several animals could be one reason for the tiger to move to SNP. Either it has been forced to move to this new area in search of food and suitable home or it finds SNP conducive for living and hunting.

Interestingly, SNP is the only area in the State where the presence of elephants and tigers have been found.

SNP which is also known as Col. Sher Jung National Park was in the past the hunting ground of the Maharaja of Sirmaur.