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Census may show 5-10% jump in Karnataka tiger population

Reserves and wildlife sanctuaries shared their cameras with each other and completed the census.

Published: 29th July 2021 05:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th July 2021 10:48 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: As the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is keen on conducting the tiger census in December and releasing the new estimates report at the next World Tiger Day (April 29, 2022), the staffers of Karnataka forest department made most use of the pandemic, tourist restrictions and the lockdown to conduct the camera trap census as a part of the exercise.

The camera trap estimations have been completed in most of the tiger reserves, during March- May, despite there is being a shortage of cameras for the exercise. The reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, have share the cameras with each other. That is not all, due to the pandemic and the fear of the onset of the third wave of Covid19, the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) are working on using more of technology and restrict the number of volunteers for the direct sighting and other on ground census exercises.

Assessing the preliminary reports, staffers from Karnataka forest department are pinning hopes that the numbers would show an increase by 5-10 per cent, when compared to previous census. Reason being, increased conservation measures, reduced poaching cases and the pandemic. However members of NTCA and WII state that the northern Western Ghats from Kali Tiger Reserve to Goa is promising for showing a rise in population.

A senior NTCA official said: “Since Karnataka is not showing any interest in declaring more tiger reserves, despite having promising numbers like in Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and Kudremukh. The next potential area to be declared as a reserve in Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary. Declaring this region, will also help in better protection towards the borders of Karnataka.”

“Work is on to start the tiger estimation by December, 2021 and complete it by January 2022. Already the camera trap estimations has started in most reserves. Emphasis is more on using mobile phone technology for the census like M- Stripe, this year. Calling volunteers depends upon the pandemic situation and the third wave. Last time 50 per cent technology was used for the census, this time the aim is to increase it to 90- 100 per cent, depending upon the areas, like in Karnataka it can be used 100 per cent,” said Qamar Qureshi, scientist, WII told The New Indian Express.

He pointed that the northern Western Ghats has a lot of potential, when compared to the central and southern parts. He added this year they were expecting more coverage of areas, including the north eastern India, in the census.

N S Murali, IGF, Southern Zone, NTCA said: “Every where we are expecting a better outcome in tiger numbers. Deaths are natural, but protection measures have improved. The outcome is likely to announced on July 29, 2022 and the training of trainers is expected to be held in August first week in Mudumalai, this year.”

Officials from Karnataka forest department said, already more numbers of striped cats have been recorded so far in the camera trap estimations. However the final reports are still being prepared and sent to NTCA.



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