Tiger census Current Affairs - 2020

Royal Bengal Tigers in Sundarbans increase to 96

On May 7, 2020, the Bengal Forest Ministry announced that the number of Royal Bengal Tigers in the Sundarbans has increased to 96 according to the census conducted for the year 2019-20.

Highlights

In 2017-18, the total count of Royal Bengal Tigers in Sundarbans was 87. It increased to 88 in the 2018-19 census. With the numbers reaching 96, there has been a big leap. The tigers are healthy according to the video footages of the forest department. The cameras have been installed across 4,200 square kilometres. Of this, 3,700 square kilometres is said to be tiger territory.

Under IUCN, the Royal Bengal Tigers are listed as Endangered Species.

Tiger Territory

Tigers live in dense vegetation. A habitat of a tiger is not only the place where it lives and preys. It also includes the areas where the tigers congregate and establishes a territory. It is called Tiger Territory. Tigers generally limit their movements within their territory. Every tiger has its own territory.

Sundarbans

The Sundarbans are of universal importance and is the largest mangrove forest in the world. It is one of the World Heritage Site. The Sundarbans mangrove forests are formed on the delta of Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers.

Global Tiger Forum

The Global Tiger Forum is the only inter-governmental organization that is involved in promoting conservation of tiger. India is also a part of the programme. According to the forum, tigers have lost 97% of their population and 94% of their home.

All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018 released

As per the All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018 India has 2,967 tigers, a third more than in 2014. The Tiger census made public on occasion of Global Tiger Day (29 July) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Key Findings

Top 5 Performing States: Madhya Pradesh saw highest number at 526, followed by Karnataka (524), Uttarakhand (442), Maharashtra (312) and Tamil Nadu (264).

States that saw Decline in Tiger Population: Chhattisgarh and Mizoram. While all other States saw a Positive increase.

Highest Number of Tigers:  found in Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh.

Maximum Improvement in Tiger Population since 2014: recoded in Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil

4th cycle of the Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Tiger Reserves (MEETR), which evaluates India’s 50 tiger sanctuaries was also released along with 4th National Tiger Estimation (Tiger census). According to it-

Pench sanctuary (MP) and Periyar sanctuary of Kerala emerged as best managed tiger reserves in country. Top performers scored 93.75%.

Dampa Reserve (Mizoram) and Rajaji reserve (Uttarakhand) with score of 42.97% and 44.53% respectively were left at bottom of ladder.

Chhattisgarh was least performing State in reserve management.

Methodology: Sanctuaries, which spanned 80 States, were divided into 5 geographic clusters and on the whole, Western Ghats cluster comprising reserves in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka scored an average of 81%. A score of 75% and above is rated ‘very good’ and score of 41% and above was marked as ‘fair’.

4th National Tiger Estimation (Tiger census)

It is 4th such tiger survey since 2006. It is a gargantuan exercise and is conducted once in 4 years. Latest survey is culmination of 15 months (1.3 year) of forest officials surveying 3,81,400 sq-km of forested habitat, installing 26,760 camera traps and wildlife biologists digging by 35 million images of wildlife- 76,523 out of which were tigers (there can be multiple images of same tiger). Nearly 83% of estimated tiger population was captured in these images.