India is home to 70% of the world Tiger population. Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar, on Wednesday, informed the upper house of Indian Parliament, Lok Sabha that there has been a 30% rise in the number of Tigers since 2010. The estimated numbers of tigers in the country have gone up to 2,226 as compared to 1,411 in 2006.
Unfettered poaching, shrinking habitat due to deforestation, lack of adequate preys and callous management of the country’s 47 tiger reserves had led to dwindling of the tiger population to as low as 1,411 in 2006, when the first scientific census of the Tiger population was conducted.
The minister added that the estimation of the numbers of tigers, co-predators, and their prey was based upon refined methodology.
Tiger population across the globe is falling while it is rising in India and this is the result of a determined administration, increased surveillance and involvement in the local community who are often at loggerheads with the forest officials.
The Tiger Census was a massive exercise that involved taking unique photographs of 80% of the nation’s tiger population. Forest officials collected pug marks, claw marks and feces of animals for their enumeration.
Officers from different forest ranges that included guards, foresters, and watchers, were part of the census process. The carnivorous animals were counted in the first three days of the month while the number of herbivores was counted on the subsequent three days.
There are skeptics who question the India’s tiger census method. An Oxford study composed of a British-Indian team of scientists has said the exercise mostly likely suffers from a measuring error. Experts involved in the census exercise, however, rebuff the study and say that the index calibration model that counts the number of carnivores without actually seeing them but using data from camera-traps, radio-collars, etc.