Do tigers have AIDS? Government says 'no'

The question was posed by Tufani Saroj, a Samajwadi Party member of the Lok Sabha from Machhlishahr in Uttar Pradesh.

Then environment minister Jairam Ramesh had promised to get an answer to the query.

According to a senior environment ministry official, the matter was referred to the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

The Dehradun-based WII is engaged in research related to conservation and management of wildlife, biodiversity and eco-development.

"After two years we have received the reply from experts saying there is no evidence of HIV/AIDS in lions and tigers," the official told IANS.

Not everyone in the ministry was amused by the question.

One official said it was an irrelevant subject that ended up consuming public money on getting an answer to the question.

The written reply will be provided to Saroj in the monsoon session of parliament starting Wednesday. Saroj, when contacted by IANS, refused to comment.

As per the 2010 census, there are just 1,706 tigers left in India.  

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