Thursday, July 28, 2011

Detailed Report on the All India Tiger Estimation (2010) Released

There are 1571 to 1875 tigers in India  which constitutes about 60 to 65 % tiger population of the world. According to the detailed report on the All India Tiger Estimation-2010 released, there is increase in number of tigers in Tiger Reserves and Protected Areas. The census of 2010 covered the areas of Sunderbans, some areas of North-East, Jharkhand etc which were not covered during last census. Along with this, Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of Tiger Reserves was also released July28.

A detailed report on the 2010 assessment relating to status of tigers, co-predators and their prey is a sequel to the outcome released in March this year. This study reports a country wise increase of 20% in tiger numbers in 2010 with an estimated number of 1706 (1571-1875). The 2006 estimation was 1411 (1165-1657) tigers. This country level assessment is done once in every four years, and is a collaborative initiative between the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Wildlife Institution of India (WII), and tiger States and outside expertise. There is a decline of 12.6% in tiger occupancy from connecting habitats. This has happened in peripheral and dispersal areas having low densities outside tiger reserves and tiger source populations.

The increase in tiger numbers is due to the fact that tiger populations in Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka have shown an increase in tiger density. The inclusion of Sunderbans, some portions of North East and parts of Maharashtra have also contributed to the increase. The methodology consisted of a double sampling approach - Phase I by Forest Departments generate indices of abundance, Phase II – Remotely sensed information on landscape characteristics in a Geographical Instruments System (GIS), Phase III – research biologists sample areas with remote cameras and modern technology to determine tiger abundance. There has been an unprecedented effort of about 4,77,000 man days by forest staff, and 37,000 man days by professional biologists. A total effort of 81,409 trap nights yielded photo-captures of 635 unique tiger from a total camera trapped area of 11,192 km2 over 29 sites.

Tiger occupied forests in India were classified into 6 landscape complexes: (a) Shivalik Hills and the Gangetic Plain , (b) Central India (c) Eastern Ghats , (d) Western Ghats, (e) North-Eastern Hills and Brahmaputra Plains, and (f) Suderbans. The report is not about tiger numbers alone and gives invaluable information on connectivity, corridors and habitats.

The second report which was also released today on ‘Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of Tiger Reserves’ (MEE) contains the second round of independent assessment based on refined criteria done in 2010-11 for 39 tiger reserves. This assessment is based on the globally used framework, as adapted to Indian conditions. Five independent teams conducted the evaluation using 30 indicators. The framework consists of 6 elements; context, planning, inputs, process, outputs and outcomes.

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