New Delhi: Government on Friday kicked-off a
three-tier fresh tiger census from Karnataka to assess the
latest number of the big cats, three years after the last
enumeration which estimated their strength to be around 1,400.
"The capacity building and training of the officials
and NGOs was already on for the last few months. But from
today, the first phase of survey at the ground level to
identify tiger habitat has begin from Karnataka," S P Yadav,
DIG National Tiger Conservation Authority told agency.
The census in Karnataka will be completed within the
next two months after which the enumeration excercise will be
undertaken in Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and other states, said P
R Sinha, director of the Wildlife Institute of India (WLI),
which is supervising the entire process.
17 states having tiger population will be taken up for
the census in the 37 tiger reserves with over 3.5 lakh men
involved in the exercise.
The official said the tiger reserves in the North-East
region will be covered once the weather improves there while
census will be undertaken in Sunderbans tiger reserve next
The first phase of the exhaustive tiger census will be
about the likely presence of tigers in specified areas while
the second phase deals with tiger population.
The latest round of census incorporates methodologies
such as camera trap, DNA analysis of tiger scat and analysing
pug marks as also rake marks on trees.
The camera trap methods were used extensively in the
last census held three years ago as per which the tiger
population in the country was projected to be in a range of
1,411 and 1,657.
Worldover experts believe there are only about 3,500
tigers left in the wild in the wake of shrinking habitat
besides poaching and man-animal conflict. Just a century ago
there numbers were estimated at over a lakh.
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh is confident that
during the World Tiger Summit in Ranthanbore in September, the
tiger census based on new methodology will be released.
"Its a huge excercise involving huge landscape.
Nevertheless, preliminary indications about tiger status will
be available by September," a senior official said.