While the population of tigers has been on a downward spiral all over the world, according to the latest tiger census, India has now has 70% of the world’s tigers. Here’s what you need to know.
Conducted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in 2014 and released by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, the study revealed that a nationwide head count of the mighty tiger had gone up by 30%; a survey is conducted after a gap of every three years.
From 1,411 in 2008 and 1,706 in 2,010, the tiger count was 2,226 in 2014. Conducted across 18 Indian states that aimed to cover 3,70, 000 square kilometres, the census used camera traps to spot tigers; physical verification and tiger scat DNA were the main areas of study.
This is great news for India’s wildlife conservation drive that until a few years only back boasted depressing figures. As a matter of fact, until some years ago, it had been said that the famous Sariska tiger reserve in Rajasthan didn’t even have a single tiger left. Anyhow, this news seemed to have acted as an impetus for the Indian government and the department of wildlife that geared into action to create these new tiger statistics.
But while most wildlife conservationists have been hailing this as a good sign, one of the NGOs that was involved in the survey has spoken out with its share of reservations. The Centre for Wildlife Studies did not regard the ‘double sampling’ approach used by the NTCA as the best approach or tool of survey. They said they didn’t believe this method could render accurate results. According to them, this approached deemed weak, as it was based on a 1938-approach created to conduct old surveys.
What is their worth?
For the first time ever, our country conducted a valuation of the economic worth of its six tiger reserves, mainly – Corbett, Kanha, Kaziranga, Periyar, Ranthambore and Sundarbans. Placing their value at Rs 1,49,900 crore, the study also revealed that these reserves produced an annual monetary benefit of Rs 7,970 crore as.
THE CAT’S HABITAT
The tiger’s loss of habit continues to be worrisome. Here’s the problem with its solution:
In the beginning, tigers had as their homes - 380,000 sq. km of forests; this figure is now down to 200,000 sq. km.
Project Tiger that was unveiled in 1973 by the Indian Government failed to live up to its mission of saving tigers or increasing their numbers.
Only when there is cooperation between the Centre and States, the tiger population can really “burn bright.” All it needs is a resounding growl from the Government!