Tiger count in state up,latest figure estimated to be 200

The 2010 tiger tally of 169 in the state may have gone up to around 200,according to the latest figures.

Written by Vivek Deshpande | Nagpur | Published:August 9, 2012 6:51 am

The 2010 tiger tally of 169 in the state may have gone up to around 200,according to the latest figures.

The Phase IV of tiger monitoring protocol that counts tiger was conducted earlier this year. Results of the exercise are going to be out soon,but sources told The Indian Express that the tiger count in the state appears to have gone up. “So far,the numbers have been finalised for Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR),its buffer and the Brahmapuri division. The respective figures are 43,32 and 20,sources said. “The figures for areas under Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) and Central Chanda division are yet to be finalised,but they are together likely to be in the range of 25,” an official said.

Thus,Chandrapur district alone will account for over 120 tigers. “Plus,there are tigers from Nagzira (Gondia),Umred-Karandla (Nagpur),Bor (Wardha) and Tipeshwar (Yavatmal) sanctuaries. Also Melghat and Pench tiger reserves will add to the tally. The overall figure could well reach up to 200,” the official said.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) S WH Naqvi said,“We are yet to finalise the figures. We will be doing that soon. Before that I can’t make any guesses.” Sources,however,said,“The more number of trap cameras available this time has led to a much broad-based data.”

Trap cameras help identify individual tigers due to their typical individual stripe patterns. Since 2010,the Union Ministry for Environment and forests had standardised tiger census,which it calls as tiger monitoring protocol,by scientifically rigorous line-transact and mark recapture method and using trap cameras.

The tiger monitoring protocol had decided to use trap cameras at a density of 25 double-sided cameras per 100 sq km with a minimum trapping effort of 1,000 trap nights per 100 sq km.

The “rise in number” story,however,may just be an illusion,according to Wildlife Protection Society of India central India director Nitin Desai. “The 2010 exercise conducted under the aegis of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) had come in for a lot of criticism from the likes of Ulhas Karanth,the man behind the protocol,for not being scientifically sound. So,can the 2010 figure be really taken as absolutely correct? There were a lot of issues like malfunctioning of cameras too. So,maybe,the tally then was also 200,who knows,” Desai says.

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