Kaziranga has highest density of tiger population in world

Kaziranga National Park (KNP) in Assam has the highest density of tigers in the world with 32 tigers per 100 sq km, according to a study.

Last Updated: Apr 29, 2010, 18:33 PM IST

Guwahati: Kaziranga National Park (KNP) in
Assam has the highest density of tigers in the world with 32
tigers per 100 sq km, according to a study.

Releasing the study report, Forest and Environment
Minister Rockybul Hussain said, "KNP has the highest density
of tigers compared to any tiger habitats in the world...It is
a matter of pride for us that when in the rest of the country
tiger population has gone down with only 1,411 of the species
left, Kaziranga National Park has also recorded highest number
of individual tigers as well."

The survey, conducted by the state forest department in
collaboration with prominent environmental NGO `Aaranyak` by
using `camera trap` method of tiger estimation, covered an
area of 144 sq km of the central and western part of the park.

As many as 38 individual tigers -- 20 females, 15 males
and three whose sex is yet to be determined, were photographed
in the study area during the 50-day photo-trapping exercise
carried between January and March 2009 .

All tigers, however, are unlikely to be photo-trapped in
the study area and using the scientific method called `capture
recapture`, as many as 47 tigers were estimated in the study
area, Hussain said.

Cubs below one year of age were eliminated in density

The previously highest recorded density of tiger in a
wildlife park was 19.6 tigers per 100 sq km recorded in the
Corbett Tiger Reserve.

The minister further said that the report has been
submitted to the Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh who
expressed happiness that a hope has been rekindled for the
protection of the tiger which is fast disappearing from its
range states throughout the world.

"It has also thrown up an opportunity to carry out an
extensive tiger monitoring study covering the entire area of
Kaziranga National Park," Hussain added.

This positive development has been possible due to the
untiring efforts of the front-life staff who have worked under
difficult conditions with limited facilities, he said.

The study team comprised members of Aaranyak under the
supervision of Bibhab Talukdar with Park staff coordinated
by Director S N Buragohain.

Biologist Firoz Ahmed, who led the team in the field,
pointed out the latest study confirms that Kaziranga`s
alluvial grassland provides optimal habitats for tigers.

One of the key reasons for high tiger density in
Kaziranga is abundance of prey animals including hog deer,
sambar, swamp deer, Wild Boar, Hog badger, porcupine, wild
buffalo, rhino and elephant, he said.

The study, which will continue this year, would next
estimate prey density while continuing to monitor tiger
population and sample eastern range of the Park to understand
pattern of tiger density.

The study was sponsored by UK`s David Shepherd Wildlife
Foundation and Rufford Small Grants Foundation, besides
National Tiger Conservation Authority.