Tiger Census: Data set to be released on Monday

Picture used for representation. Photo credit: DH

India is set to release its tiger numbers on Monday amidst wide concerns on poaching that killed hundreds of big cats. Prime Minister Narendra Modi would release the results of fourth tiger estimation that will demonstrate how much tiger numbers have increased since the last count of 2,226 in 2014.

Nearly 14,000 camera traps have been used this time as against 9,735 such instruments used in the last exercise. This time exhaustive data is expected from the northeast forest, which together with Myanmar is the world's largest tiger landscape.

Since 2006, India conducts the all India tiger estimation every four years. While three cycles of the estimation have already been completed in 2006, 2010 and 2014, this time the government and National Tiger Conservation Authority also carried out an economic valuation of tigers in mitigating the adverse impact of climate change, said a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office.

With 406 tigers, Karnataka housed the maximum number of striped cats last time followed by Uttarakhand (340) and Madhya Pradesh (308).

But this time, experts fear that the growth would be minimal in Nagarhole-Bandipur as the park is already saturated with tigers. On the contrary, Pench and Kanha could see a far greater number of tigers.

On the positive side, Nagarhole-Bandipur-Mudumalai-Wayanad-Moyar-Segur remains one of the four landscapes that have the required number of tigers for the animal's long term survival, says India's tiger action plan between 2012-13 and 2017-18.

The other three landscapes where the royal predators have a better chance to survive are Corbett, Sunderbans (India and Bangladesh) and Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong.

“The remaining tiger populations require habitat connectivity for genetic and demographic viability. Such connecting habitats, apart from facilitating animal movements, also act as a refuge for spillover populations from the core areas,” says the action plan.

Notwithstanding the growth in tiger numbers since 2006, poaching continues to be a major worry. An NTCA analysis of 408 tiger deaths between 2012 and 2017 illustrated that more than 22% of those deaths are due to poaching.

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