Thank you to NPR for reporting on the good news of this census, although in full disclosure their choice of cover photos is quite disappointing and we are happy to highlight a stunning photo by Dr. Eash Hoskote, one of our regular nature photography contributors instead.
In 2010, India sought to double its tiger population by 2022. But on International Tiger Day, the country announced it met its goal four years earlier than expected.
Nearly 3,000 tigers now reside in India, that’s more than 70% of the world’s tiger population.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the 2018 All India Tiger Estimation count on Monday, attributing the figures to India’s hardworking wildlife officials and advocates.
“Once the people of India decide to do something, there is no force that can prevent them from getting the desired results,” Modi announced at a news conference. “Today we reaffirm our commitment towards protecting tigers.”
He added that India now takes the lead in being the biggest and safest habitat in the world for tigers. The population, now at 2,967, is up from 2,226 since 2014.
“There are several plants and animals out there that need our help,” Modi said. “What is it that we can do? Either through technology or human action to give them … a life so that they can add beauty and diversity to our planet.”
After learning that there were a limited amount of tigers left in the world, India decided to strengthen the conservation of tigers in its country. In an effort to protect the endangered species, the National Tiger Conservation Authority was created to count the population.
The recent survey, believed to be the world’s largest effort invested in any wildlife, has been conducted every four years since 2006 when the tiger count was at an all-time low of 1,411. Taking into account “carnivore signs” and prey estimation, the 2018 census was carried out using more than 26,000 camera traps across known tiger habitats. Thousands of wildlife foresters and scientists also set out on foot to cover half a million square kilometers to collect physical signs of tiger markings.
According to the report, the state of Madhya Pradesh had the highest number with 526 tigers, closely followed by Karnataka with 524 and Uttarakhand with 442 tigers.
“This news brings us another step closer to securing a future for one of the world’s most iconic species and is further proof that tiger recovery is possible when political will and the right conditions exist,” the World Wide Fund said in a statement.
Senior Vice President Ginette Hemley told NPR that these numbers suggest the government’s investments in tiger conservation — on-the-ground monitoring, research regarding tiger distribution, habitat and other survival needs — are really paying off.
“They also focus a lot on the issues around the interface of communities that live in the buffer zones around these tiger reserves to ensure that people and tigers are able to live compatibly together as best as they can.”
Since 2006, tigers sightings increased at a rate of 6% per year in India, which Hemley says may signal that the tiger population is headed in the right direction.
Read the full article here.