Bengal Tiger’ Current Affairs - 2020

10,000 cameras to be used in Gujarat Lion Census, 2020

The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is to conduct Asiatic Lion Census in May 2020. The Institute will use 10,000 cameras to conduct the census.

Highlights

In 2015, the WII counted 523 lions in Gujarat. It is expected that the numbers have risen phenomenally and the population must have crossed 1,000. The census is to adopt the technology of National Tiger Conservation Authority. The entire census area is to be divided in to 3-km grid. Officers will collect hair, nails, teeth, etc. The collection process is to be carried out using scientific methods laid out by NTCA. Around 1,000 to 2,000 officers are to be employed. In the second phase, 10,000 cameras are to be used to capture the lions.

Asiatic Lions

The Asiatic Lions in Gujarat are restricted to Gir National Park in the state. The lions are listed as “Endangered” in the IUCN Red List. Initially the lions were spread from the east of Indus river to West Bengal and also to Narmada river in Central India. However, today they are restricted to Gujarat alone. Asiatic lions belong to the category of Pantherine cats.

Pantherine Cats

The lion is one among the 5 Pantherine Cats inhabiting in India. The other 4 pantherine cats in India are Bengal Tiger, Snow Leopard, Indian Leopard and Clouded Leopard. Under IUCN red list, Bengal Tiger has been listed as Endangered, and the three leopards snow leopard, clouded leopard and Indian leopard have been listed as Vulnerable

Royal Bengal Tigers may not survive Climate Change: UN Report

According to a recent UN report, Climate change and rising sea levels may eventually wipe out ‘The Sundarbans’, which is one of world’s last and largest tiger strongholds. The studies of report rely on climate change scenarios developed by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for its simulation models.

Key Findings of Report

  • As per UN findings if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continued at current rate, the atmosphere would warm as much as 1.5C (above preindustrial levels) by 2040. This climate change would lead to rising sea level and existential threat to the Sundarbans.
  • In 2010, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF, a Non-governmental organization) estimated that sea level rise of 11 inches could reduce number of tigers in Sundarbans by 96% within a few decades.
  • By 2070, there will be not be any suitable habitats of tiger remaining in Bangladesh Sundarbans.
  • 70% of Sundarbans is just a few feet above sea level, thus faces grave threat due to climate changes. It is one of the prime habitats of Bengal tigers, who are among 500,000 land species whose survival is in question because of threats to their natural habitats due to climate change.
  • Once the Sundarbans are flooded it may lead to increased confrontations (conflict) between humans and tigers, as the latter would stray outside their habitat in search of new land.
  • Conservation efforts and fight against habitat loss in Sunderbans needs to begin immediately, as it could take about 20 years for these efforts to even start showing any results, but if action isn’t taken soon there won’t be any forest or tigers to save in 50 years.

About Sundarbans

  • They are 10,000 square kilometres of marshy mangroves ecosystem shared between Bangladesh and India.
  • They hosts world’s largest mangrove forest and a rich ecosystem that supports hundreds of animal species, including Bengal tiger.
  • They are only mangrove forests in world where Bengal tigers are found.

About Bengal tiger (Panthera Tigris Tigris)

  • It is national animal of India and Bangladesh.
  • It found predominantly in India with some populations in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, China and Myanmar.
  • Initiatives by India: As Bengal tiger species is the most numerous of all tiger subspecies (about 2,500 left in wild) Indian government undertakes various initiave to in a bid to conserve species. The Project Tiger launched in 1973 was India’s first-ever tiger conservation programme.
  • IUCN Red List Status is endangered.
  • Since early 1900s, hunting, poaching, habitat loss, and illegal trade of animal parts (to meet growing demand in Asia) have decreased global population of tigers from around 100,000 to fewer than 4,000 and puy the species at risk.