A tiger resource centre, part of regional natural history museum, is coming up here and it will act as a nodal point for research and studies in issues related to tiger conservation.
This centre will have skulls and skeletons of tigers, elephants and rhinos gifted by M/s Van Ingen & Van Ingen Studio, the famous taxidermists of Mysore, after they closed shop.
Bhopal has been chosen for this centre because Madhya Pradesh accounts for almost one-fourth of the country’s tiger population. As per the latest official census, there are 712 tigers in the nine national parks and 25 wildlife sanctuaries in the state. Kanha national park alone is supposed to have more than 100 big cats.
But there is ample evidence to show that large-scale poaching may have reduced the number of tigers in the state. Last month, there was a media uproar over the disclosure that not a single tiger had been sighted in Panna national park — which officially has 34 tigers — in the last one and a half years.
Museum-in charge C Rajasundaram says the Centre will not allow any research on “medicinal uses” of tiger remains, because it is not only illegal, but may also encourage poaching. The claws and other body parts of the tiger are highly prized in China and Far-eastern countries for their supposedly aphrodisiacal properties. But the tiger remains hardly have any market in India.
According to Mr Rajasundaram, of the eight species of tigers, three are already extinct. The Caspian tiger became extinct in 1950s while the Java tiger lost the battle for survival in the 1970s. The last of the Bali tigers was shot in 1937. The South China tiger is on the verge of extinction. The Bengal tiger is under threat owing to the demand for its remains.