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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

GS-III :
  • 11 June, 2020

  • 4 Min Read

Tiger Census

Tiger Census

India’s tiger census has been commissioned by the union environment ministry’s National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). The census will see coordination with Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh in estimating the territorial spread of the animal in the subcontinent.

The Wildlife Institute of India, a Union Environment Ministry-funded body, has been tasked with coordinating the tiger estimation exercise. Along with tigers, the survey also collects information on the prey population of deer and other animals. The techniques used to estimate tiger population are Pugmark Technique, camera trapping and DNA finger-printing and eStripes.

2018 report

The Prime Minister of India has released the results of the fourth cycle of All India Tiger Estimation - 2018 on the occasion of Global Tiger Day-2019.

  • According to results of the Tiger census, the total count of tigers has risen to 2,967 from 2,226 in 2014 — an increase of 741 individuals (aged more than one year), or 33%, in four years.
  • India has achieved the target of doubling the tiger count four years ahead of the deadline of 2022.
  • This is by far the biggest increase in Tiger count in terms of both numbers and percentage (since the four-yearly census using camera traps and the capture-mark-recapture method began in 2006).

Need for Tiger Conservation

  • Tigers are at the top of the food chain and are sometimes referred to as “umbrella species" that is their conservation also conserve many other species in the same area.
  • The Tiger estimation exercise that includes habitat assessment and prey estimation reflects the success or failure of Tiger conservation efforts.
  • More than 80% of the world’s wild tigers are in India, and it’s crucial to keep track of their numbers.

Tigers in India

  • India accounts for majority of the 3,500-odd tigers that are scattered among Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russian Federation, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • India’s five tiger landscapes are: Shivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains, Central Indian Landscape and Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats, North-East Hills and Brahmaputra Plains, and the Sundarbans.

Key Findings

  • Top Performers: Madhya Pradesh saw the highest number of tigers (526) followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442).
    • Increase in Tiger population: Madhya Pradesh (71%) > Maharashtra (64%) > Karnataka (29%).
  • Worst Performers: Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in tiger population.
    • Chhattisgarh is the only state out of the 20 tiger-bearing states where the 2018- census counted 19 tigers, significantly fewer than the 46 of 2014.
    • Decline in Tiger numbers in Chhattisgarh can be attributed to the law and order problem as large parts of the state are hit by the Maoist insurgency.
    • Greater conservation efforts are needed in the “critically vulnerable” Northeast hills and Odisha.
  • Tiger Sanctuaries: An evaluation of India’s 50 tiger sanctuaries was also released along with the 4th National Tiger Estimation (Tiger census).
    • Madhya Pradesh's Pench Sanctuary and Kerala’s Periyar sanctuary emerged as the best-managed tiger reserves in the country.
    • Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu registered the “maximum improvement” since 2014.
    • The Dampa and Rajaji reserves, in Mizoram and Uttarakhand respectively are at the bottom of the list in terms of Tiger count.
    • No tiger has been found in the Buxa (West Bengal), Palamau (Jharkhand) and Dampa (Mizoram) reserves.

Global Tiger Day

  • Global Tiger Day was observed for the first time in 2010 at the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia when all 13 tiger range countries came together for the first time with the commitment of doubling the number of wild tigers by 2022.
  • It is celebrated annually on July 29th.
  • Global Tiger Recovery Plan which outlines how each country can contribute to the ambitious goal, known as TX2

Additional News

During the 4th cycle, in sync with Government of India’s “Digital India” initiative, data was collected using an Android based application- M-STrIPES ( Monitoring system for Tigers’ Intensive Protection and Ecological Status) and analyzed on the applications’ desktop module.

The, application greatly eased out analysis of a large quantum of data that was collected over nearly 15 months involving survey of 381,400 sq.km. of forested habitats, 522,996 km of walk by State Forest officials, laying of 317,958 habitat plots, totaling a human investment of 5, 93,882 man days.

Besides cameras were placed in 26760 locations which gave a total of 35 million images of wildlife including 76523 images of tigers. Segregation of these images was possible in a short time because of use of artificial intelligence software.

The intensity with which the exercise was conducted resulted in 83 % of the tiger population being captured wherein 2461 individual tiger photographs were obtained and only 17 % of the tiger population was estimated using robust spatially explicit capture recapture statistical models.

The Prime Minister also released report of the 4th cycle of the Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Tiger Reserves (MEETR) with Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh scoring the highest and Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu showing the highest increment in management since the last cycle for which the latter was awarded. 42% of the tiger reserves fell in the Very Good management category, 34% in the Good category, 24% in the Fair category while no tiger reserve was rated Poor.

Projecting tiger reserve as engines of growth was highlighted in the report released on Economic Valuation of Tiger Reserves which was jointly published by the NTCA and the Indian Institute of Forest Management Bhopal. The Prime Minister also released trailer of the documentary titled “Counting Tigers” to be aired worldwide on August 7.

In conclusion, the Prime Minister called for even greater efforts, towards Tiger Conservation.

Source: PIB


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