Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, on Tuesday released the detailed Status of Tigers Report 2018. According to the report, released on the eve of Global Tiger Day, tigers were observed to be increasing at a rate of 6 per cent per annum in India from 2006 to 2018.
“There were nine tiger reserves when Project Tiger started in 1973. Now, India has 50 tiger reserves. Seventy per cent of the world’s tigers are in India and the conservation effort has been a huge success… We are ready to help the other 13 countries with tiger ranges in conserving, capacity building and training in tiger conservation. The ministry will also start a water and fodder scheme within the reserves so that less animals stray out of these reserves and this minimalises animal-human conflict,” Javadekar said.
DG Forests Sanjay Kumar, meanwhile, said since the tiger was an “umbrella species”, its conservation enables the conservation of their entire ecosystems. “Many studies have shown that these reserves harbour new species, which are found practically every year. Tiger reserves have also improved the water regimes in regions where they are located, improving groundwater tables and other water bodies, thus contributing favourably to the climate,” said Kumar.
But while tiger populations remain stable in the country, the report warns that with the populations being confined to small Protected Areas, some of which have habitat corridors that permit tiger movement between them, “most of the corridor habitats in India are not protected areas, and are degrading due to unsustainable human use and developmental projects”.
There have been gains and losses in individual landscapes, says the report. Most of these variations have taken place in habitat pockets with low density.
Tiger occupancy has increased in Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. The former also registered a substantial increase in tiger population, and along with Karnataka, ranks highest in tiger numbers.
The Northeast has, meanwhile, suffered losses in population. The tiger status in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha has steadily declined, which the report stated “is a matter of concern”.
The largest contiguous tiger population in the world of about 724 tigers was found in the Western Ghats (Nagarhole-Bandipur-Wayanad-Mudumalai- Satyamangalam-BRT block).
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