On July 29th, the world celebrated The International Tiger Day. A century ago there were 100,000 tigers that roamed in the wild. Today, this number is down to a painful 3200.
There are many reasons for this – illegal poaching and illegal tiger trade in tiger skin, tooth, bones, claws that are considered potent remedies in traditional Asian medicine, rampant loss of tiger habitat and habitat fragmentation has forced tigers to live in small, isolated pockets of remaining habitat, making it harder for tigers to reproduce. Given the shrinking habitat, there is also rise in man-animal conflict.
The Government of India has taken a pioneering initiative for conserving its national animal, the tiger, by launching the ‘Project Tiger’ in 1973. It is through these efforts that India has half the world’s tiger population in the wild.
The countrywide estimation of tiger in India is done once in four years
Counting Tigers or estimation of their numbers (Tiger Census) is an important exercise to find out that the Tigers are present in healthy numbers and how the Conservation efforts of Forest Department are working on the ground. The process of estimating the number of tigers in a given area is called ‘Tiger census.’ This exercise provides us with an estimate of tiger number, density and change in tiger indices - a measure of tiger occupancy in a given area. Given the diversity and richness of the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, this year CSS Corp donated 200 camera traps to the Karnataka Forest Department for monitoring of tigers and conducting the Tiger Census at the Nagarhole Forest Reserve .The advantage of camera traps for gathering data on tiger is that along with data on tigers, data are also collected on co-predators, prey, habitat and human disturbance at the same resolution.
Early indications of the results of the census show that the number of tigers have grown. The census, conducted once in four years, revealed a population of 1,706 in 2010 and among them, 300 tigers were found in Karnataka. Finally the efforts to conserve this beautiful animal, yet the most vulnerable to extinction, are paying results.
As responsible citizens we can do our bit as well such as:
- Learn about tigers as much as possible and share the same with others along with the threats they face
- Follow the Forest guidelines when as a tourist
- Support the Zero tolerance approach towards Poaching
- Try and reduce the consumption of products derived from the forests viz paper