Explained - Tiger Population Rise in India

Explained - Tiger Population Rise shown in Tiger Census 2018 released by PM Modi

Table of Content:-

  • Context
  • Status of Tigers in India, 2018 Report
  • Background
  • Concerns among GTF
  • What is GTF?
  • About - Status of Tigers in India Survey
  • Why this survey is important to us?
  • Why the numbers have gone up?
  • How India can improve the tiger population?


Context:- The four-year tiger census report “Status of Tigers in 2018”, released by PM Modi on International Tiger Day shows that number of big cats has increased across all landscapes.

According to Report “Status of Tigers in India, 2018”:-
  • The total count has risen to 2,967 from 2,226 in 2014 — an increase of 741 individuals (aged more than one year), or 33%, in four years.
  • The 2018 figure has a great degree of credibility because, according to the report, as many as 2,461 individual tigers (83% of the total) have actually been photographed by trap cameras.
  • The biggest increase has been in Madhya Pradesh — a massive 218 individuals (71%) from 308 in 2014 to 526. In Maharashtra, the number has gone up from 190 to 312 (64%), and in Karnataka, from 406 to 524 (118, or 29%). Uttarakhand has gained over 100 tigers (340 to 442; 30%)
  • Only one of the 20 tiger-bearing states has seen a fall in numbers — Chhattisgarh, where the census counted 19 tigers, significantly fewer than the 46 of 2014.
  • The report does not contain numbers of other predators like leopards.

Background:-

Nearly a decade since the governments of 13 tiger home range countries came together to double the global tiger population by 2022.

Thirteen tiger-range countries namely India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and host Russia participated in the tiger summit.
In the 2010 St. Petersburg Declaration, the countries agreed to a Global Tiger Recovery Program.

However, as the discussions at the 3rd Stocktaking Conference on the Global Tiger Recovery Program held in New Delhi from January 28 to January 29 showed the world is far away from doubling its tiger population.

Concerns among GTF:-

Recently, GTF (Global Tiger Forum) has expressed concerns over the status of Tigers in South-East Asian Countries. Secretary-General Rajesh Gopal explained that status of wild tigers in South Asia and Russia range from sub-optimal but the situation is much better in comparison to wild tiger status in south-east Asian tiger range countries (TRCs)

There is no recent update from China and Indonesia. Wild tigers are almost extinct in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The GTF appeals to other TRCs for time-bound appraisal of wild tiger status within their country for strengthening the on-going GTRP process

What is the GTF (Global Tiger Forum)?

The Global Tiger Forum (GTF) is the only intergovernmental an international body established with members from willing countries to embark on a global campaign to protect the Tiger.

The GTF was formed in 1993 on recommendations from an international conference on tiger conservation in New Delhi. The first meeting of the tiger range countries to set up the forum was held in 1994, in which India was elected to the Chair and was asked to form an interim secretariat. In 1997, the GTF became an independent organization.

The Global Tiger Forum, an international collaboration of tiger-bearing countries, has set a goal of doubling the count of wild tigers by 2022.

About - Status of Tigers in India survey:-

This comprehensive survey is conducted every four years and is based on information collected by wildlife officials across 146,000 sq miles (380,000 sq km) of land. It also draws on data collected from almost 350,000 images taken by 26,000 camera traps in known tiger habitats.

Why this survey is important to us?
  • The tiger estimation exercise includes habitat assessment and prey estimation & it reflects the success or failure of conservation efforts. Therefore, This is an especially important indicator in a fast-growing economy like India where the pressures of development often run counter to the demands of conservation.
  • More than 80% of the world’s wild tigers are in India, and it’s crucial to keep track of their numbers.

Why the numbers have gone up?
  • The number of tiger reserves went up to 50 in 2018 from 28 in 2006, extending protection to larger numbers of tigers over the years.
  • Healthy increases in the core area, populations eventually lead to migrations to areas outside the core.
  • Increased focus on tigers even in the areas under the territorial and commercial forestry arms of Forest Departments.
  • The important reason is increased vigilance and the fact that organized poaching rackets have been all but crushed. Therefore, increased protection has encouraged the tiger to breed
  • The rehabilitation of villages outside core areas in many parts of the country has led to the availability of more inviolate space for tigers.
  • Also, because estimation exercises have become increasingly more accurate over the years, it is possible that many tigers that eluded enumerators in earlier exercises were counted this time.

How India can improve the tiger population?
  • In the 4th cycle of the tiger census, Chhattisgarh and Odisha show poor and declining of tiger status. The tiger populations in these areas need immediate conservation attention. The poor status of tigers in some of the reserves can be attributed to law and order situation in these areas, while in others what is required is an augmentation of prey, and reintroduction of tigers from appropriate source backed up by improved protection.
  • Focus on the vast region of potential tiger habitats that can be used to improve prey density and develop tiger corridors to support larger populations.
  • Careful spatial planning is needed to avoid traversing critical habitats and their linkages, along with appropriate mitigation through wildlife passageways will ensure that tigers and biodiversity conservation is not compromised by modern development.
  • Strategic focus requires not just protecting tigers but protecting landscapes including source sites and corridors. 


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