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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 13 August, 2021

  • 15 Min Read

Common survey to count elephants and tigers

Common survey to count elephants and tigers

Why in news?

  • From December, India will move to a system that will count tigers and elephants as part of a common survey in 2022. This will be for the first time that Tiger and Elephants will be counted in a single survey. The tiger survey is usually held once in four years and elephants are counted once in five years.
  • According to the most recent 2018-19 survey, there were 2,997 tigers in India. According to the last count in 2017, there were 29,964 elephants in India.
  • Since 2006, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, which is affiliated with the Environment Ministry, has a standardised protocol in place that States then use to estimate tiger numbers. Based on sightings in camera traps and indirect estimation methods, tiger numbers are computed.
  • Elephant numbers largely rely on States directly counting the number of elephants. In recent years, techniques such as analysing dung samples have also been deployed to estimate birth rates and population trends in elephants.
  • Given that 90% of the area occupied by elephants and tigers is common, and once estimation methods are standardised, having a common survey can significantly save costs.
  • In 2017, the Union Environment Ministry reported that there were 27,312 elephants on average in the country, according to figures collated from 23 States, a decline from the 29,576 elephants recorded as the mean figure in 2012.
  • However, in 2019, it emerged that Kerala may have under-counted almost 2,700 elephants in the latest elephant census and the updated 2017 figures showed 29,964 elephants on average or a slight increase from the mean of 2012.
  • This was because Kerala initially relied on a direct count method and then switched to an indirect method when the count showed a decline in its elephant population.
  • Asian elephants are listed as “endangered” on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. More than 60% of the world’s elephant population is in India, said a statement from the Environment Ministry.
  • Speaking on the occasion, the Union Environment Minister stressed the involvement of local and indigenous people in the Conservation of elephants and said that a bottom-up approach is the way forward, which will also help in minimizing Human-Elephant Conflict as well.
  • The Ministry also partnered with WII, NMNH, WWF-India and WTI in organsing the week long programme of “Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” as a precursor to the World Elephant Day, 2021.

About Asian Elephant

  • Asian elephants are listed as "Endangered" on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. This has been done as most of the range states except India, have lost their viable elephant populations due to loss of habitats & poaching etc. The current population estimates indicate that there are about 50,000 -60000 Asian elephants in the world. More than 60 % of the population is held in India.
  • Indian Elephant has also been listed in the Appendix I of the Convention of the Migratory species in the recently concluded Conference of Parties of CMS 13 at Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat in February 2020.
  • World Elephant Day is being celebrated to bring the attention of various stakeholders to support various conservation policies to help elephants, including improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, providing better treatment for captive elephants and reintroducing some captive elephants into sanctuaries.
  • The elephant is the Natural Heritage Animal of India and India also celebrates this day to spread awareness about the conservation of the species.

Tiger Estimation 2018

  • Click here to read about Tiger Reserves and Tiger Census
  • All India Tiger Estimation 2018 has entered the Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest camera trap wildlife survey. The fourth iteration of the survey, conducted in 2018-19 was the most comprehensive to date, in terms of both resources and data amassed.
  • According to the report of 2018, India now has an estimated 2967 tigers out of which 2461 individual tigers have been photo captured, about 83 % of the tiger population. With this number, India is home to nearly 75% of the global tiger population.
  • India has already fulfilled its resolve of doubling tiger numbers, made at St. Petersburg in 2010, much before the target year of 2022.
  • The All India Tiger Estimation is done every four years once, It is
  1. Steered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority
  2. Technically supported by Wildlife Institute of India
  3. Implemented by State Forest Departments and partners.
  • Tiger Reserves are protected areas that aim at conserving the habitat to ensure a viable population of the tigers along with their prey base in their habitat.
  • India’s tiger census has been commissioned by the union environment ministry’s National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

Source: TH


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