International Tiger Day: Tiger Population Rises to 2,967, Up 33%

The survey, which conducted by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in four phases, began in winter 2017.

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With a total of 2,967 tigers in India, the country witnessed a 33 percent increase in population since 2014, said the All India Tiger Estimation 2018, released on Monday, 29 July.

The once-in-four-year survey, conducted by Wildlife Institute of India (WII), was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of International Tiger Day.

In 2006, when the survey was first conducted, India had only 1,411 tigers and since then the population has increased at six percent per annum, the survey said.

The numbers rose to 1,706 in 2010 and 2,226 in 2014, with India accounting for most of the 3,500 tigers scattered around the world.

International Tiger Day: Tiger Population Rises to 2,967, Up 33%
(Photo: Shruti Mathur/TheQuint)

‘From Ek Tha Tiger to Tiger Zinda Hain’: PM

The prime minister referred to the two Salman Khan-starrer Bollywood movies ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ and its sequal ‘Tiger Zinda Hain’ while releasing the report.

“I want to tell the people associated with it that the story which started with ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ and reached ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ should not stop there. This will not work. The work towards tiger conservation has to be expanded and sped up.”
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister

On the 'development versus environment conservation' debate, Modi said that striking a balance between the two is possible.

Numbers That Matter

India is now ascertained to be home to at least 70 percent of the world's tigers.

Madhya Pradesh topped the list of states with 526 tigers, and Karnataka followed closely with 534 animals.

International Tiger Day: Tiger Population Rises to 2,967, Up 33%
(Photo: Shruti Mathur/TheQuint)

MP: India’s ‘Tiger State’

The report revealed that Madhya Pradesh was the country's ‘tiger state’ with 526 of the big cats.

MP had lost the coveted ‘tiger state’ status to Karnataka in 2011. As per the 2018 report, Karnataka is a close second with 524 tigers, followed by Uttarakhand with 442.

MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath congratulated the people of the state and those managing its national parks, reserves, institutes and others establishments involved in tiger protection.

Chhattisgarh, Goa, Mizoram Observe a Decline

Chhattisgarh recorded the maximum decline, with the current numbers at 19 as opposed to 46 in the 2014 census. Odisha too recorded a decline in the number of tigers with 45 tigers in 2006 and only 28 tigers in 2018.

Three more states: Goa, Mizoram and West Bengal, have recorded a decline in tiger population, the report stated.

While Goa is left with just three tigers, compared to five in 2014, Mizoram and West Bengal recorded no tigers this time, with the authorities citing poor sampling as the reason. As per the 2014 census report, both states had three tigers each.

“Loss in north-east is due to poor sampling. The poor and continuing decline in tiger status in the states of Chhattisgarh is a matter of concern,” the report said.
International Tiger Day: Tiger Population Rises to 2,967, Up 33%
(Photo: Shruti Mathur/TheQuint)

20 to 26: Telangana Tiger Count

The total tiger count in two reserves in Telangana has risen to 26 from 20 five years back, according to the report.

Telangana has two Tiger Reserves, Amrabad Tiger Reserve in Nagarkurnool and Nalgonda districts and Kawal Tiger Reserve, encompassing Nirmal, Mancherial, Adilabad and KB Asifabad districts.

“We have all reasons to be happy. As per the earlier 2014 estimation, tiger population was 20. So now it is 26. It is a good increase,” Telangana Principal Chief Conservator of Forests PK Jha told PTI.

In the last five years, the number of protected areas (for tigers) increased from 692 to over 860 and community reserves from 43 to over 100.

International Tiger Day: Tiger Population Rises to 2,967, Up 33%
(Photo: Shruti Mathur/TheQuint)

‘India Safest for Tigers’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while releasing the report, said that with around 3,000 tigers, India is one of safest habitats for them in world.

“It was decided in 2010 that the target (year) of doubling tiger population would be 2022. We’ve completed the target four years early. The speed and dedication with which various stakeholders have worked for this is remarkable.”
PM Narendra Modi

The goal to double the tiger count was set for 2022, as a part of a 2010 agreement between Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russian Federation, Thailand, and Vietnam.

‘Report Calls for Celebration, but Efforts Must Continue to Save Tigers’, Say Experts

Welcoming the tiger census report 2018, wildlife experts on Monday lauded the efforts behind the colossal exercise held once in four years saying it was time to "celebrate" as the country is home to nearly 3,000 big wild cats.

Reacting to the AITE report, Rajesh Gopal, Secretary General of Global Tiger Forum, an inter-governmental international body for conservation of tigers, reportedly said it was a “brilliant” report prepared by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

"We appreciate the report and the efforts behind it. It is a brilliant work and was a comprehensive exercise which was time consuming," Gopal said, adding that the tiger spread is also more this time compared to the last survey.

“It was a pleasure to have the Prime Minister release the AITE report. It is a big achievement and makes a huge difference.”
YV Jhala, Scientist at Tiger Cell, WII, as quoted by PTI

Jhala further said that the automated techniques used this time helped the officials to collect and collate the data digitally "but the magnitude of the data was much larger that's why it took its own time to be analysed."

Some environment activists also felt that there was a need to protect the big cats from natural calamities.

(With inputs from PTI)

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