Tiger Report 2014

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  • The population of tigers has increased in India from 1,706 in 2011 to 2,226 in 2014.
  • India has 70% of the world tiger population
  • 30 per cent increase in tiger population in the past three years in India.
  • Tiger census - every three years by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
  • Tiger conservation practices that had proved successful in India could be adopted elsewhere
  • measures like Special Tiger Protection Force, Special Programme for Orphan Tiger cubs, efforts to control poaching and initiatives to minimize Human-Animal conflict and encroachment taken. India was willing to donate Tiger cubs to international community and play a key role in the global Tiger Conservation efforts.
  • The Third Round of country-level Tiger Assessment employing refined technology of double sampling using camera traps had recorded an increase in tiger population with total of 1540 unique Tiger Photo captures (80%).
  • Local communities involved in data collection and analysis.
  • Along with tigers, co-predators, prey, and habitat quality assessed also under taken.

Initiatives

  • tiger reserves were created in the country based on 'core-buffer' strategy
  • e-Surveillance: The pilot project electronic - eye is installed in Corbett National Park. The system is of series of short range infra-red and long range night vision thermal camera stations, mounted on high towers at strategic locations to cover sensitive areas. These intelligent cameras have interface with each other and also connected to a central Control Room which can be remotely operated by authorised personnel. They have powerful zoom capabilities, can rotate at 360 degree, tilt and work even in adverse weather conditions. Power requirements are met using solar panels. They need minimum human presence at tower locations. It is the first of its kind anywhere in any Protected Area. The network of cameras covers an area of about 300 sq.km, detecting movements of anything over about 20 kg body weight and is thus capable of not only detecting human movements but also of wild animals. Any suspicious movement generates alerts which are then forwarded to field stations. Apart from being a direct deterrent against criminal activity in the region, when people entering the forests illegally can expect a team of field staff to come after them shortly, the system has also served to be a huge psychological barrier for criminals. The system will be expended to other areas. E-surveillance by drone is also in wish list of Govt.
  • Monitoring System for Tigers – Intensive Protection and Ecological Status (M-STrIPES): The system consists of two components a) field based protocols for patrolling, law enforcement, recording wildlife crimes and ecological monitoring, b) a customized software for storage, retrieval, analysis and reporting. Currently law enforcement and ecological monitoring information generated is ad hoc and is not available in a format for informed decision making. “M-STrIPES” addresses this void. The system uses a holistic approach by integrating ecological insights obtained through the standardized tiger, prey, and habitat assessment protocols used across the 17 tiger States to guide protection and management. The system performs statistical computations of occupancy, precision, sample size, and assesses trends over appropriate time and spatial scales for tiger, other carnivore and prey populations, human impacts, illegal activities, and law enforcement investments. M-STrIPES produces reports and maps synthesizing information on illegal activities, wildlife crime, protection efforts, ecological status at desired temporal and spatial scales to guide management. It reduces the response time of managers to detrimental events like poaching or habitat degradation and becomes a comprehensive tool.
  • Photo Database of Tigers: they can be of immense assistance to the protection, management and rigorous monitoring of wild tiger populations in India.Intensive camera trapping has been now mandated as the main methodology for annual monitoring of tiger populations in key source populations and tiger reserves. The photographs are kept centrally. The photographs can be compared with dead animal and skin seizures.
  • Special Tiger Protection Force: It has local representation in form of guards. Training is provided by paramilitary forces. Better equipped with weapons and technology.

Why should we save the tigers?

  • The existing Indian tiger reserves represent around one-third of our high density forest area.
  • More than 350 rivers originate from tiger reserves. Tiger reserves also sequester carbon, provide oxygen and slowly release ground water to regulate floods.
  • As top predators, tigers shape the community structure of ecosystems. prevent over-grazing of the ecosystem by limiting herbivore numbers and maintain ecological integrity.
  • Tigers are solitary and have large home ranges. By this virtue tigers are excellent umbrella species as they provide space for a variety of other species to flourish.
  • A powerful cultural mascot of India, a symbol of myth, mystery and imagination. If we lose the tiger, we will indeed lose an integral part of our identity as a nation.

In News

  • NHAI wants to expand NH7 highway between Pench and Kanha Tiger Reserves. Area full of sal trees and good tiger population. Arguments against road / linear projects through tiger reserves (1) ‘edge effects’ — the ecology around the road gets depleted through loss of vegetation and refuge, alien invasive species are introduced, and ecosystem services are displaced. (2) Ancillary threats such as more cars, and light and air pollution. (3) Tigers freeze when light falls on them. Most animals can't fathom speed and size of car, hence accident. Animals move in herds and have deep bonds; they too suffer distress when a member dies.
  • Roads, trains and power lines are called Linear infrastructure projects. Environment ministry diluted clearance norms for cutting trees for such projects under the Forest Conservation Act of 1980. Pro (1) Roads and power lines vital for economic growth, mobility and delivery of services. Anti (1) Habitat fragmentation (2) wildlife deaths in road accidents and poaching (3) landslides and erosion (4) artificial plantation to compensate the forestloss, cannot compensate for #1,2,3. Therefore, National Green Tribunal has ordered that no linear project or any other non-forest activity be carried out in a forest area unless a final order has been passed by the State government.
  • Lions, tigers and other carnivores in Mumbai zoos now get chicken as their primary feed due to ban on cow laughter
  • Karnataka's Bandipur Tiger reserve to use drone to monitor movement of animals, poachers and forest fire. A private company keyfalcon has given drone on monthly rent, along with android app "Hejje" (Pugmark) to coordinate movement of forest guards and tigers. It flies at a low level, local people fear getting caught by it, thus drone deters poachers and jungle-mafia. Simultaneously, sensor based camera installed at key places to track movement of men and animals.
  • National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) gives in-principle approval for tiger reserves in (1) Ratapani in Madhya Pradesh (2) Sunabeda in Odisha (3) Guru Ghasidas in Chhattisgarh.
  • Odisha has three tiger reserves — Similipal, Satakosia and Sunabeda. National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) says only 28 tigers left but Odisha state Government maintains they've 60 tigers.

Reference

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