The increase is more than 100 per cent

The tiger population in the State has more than doubled in the past four years in the Western and Eastern Ghats.

A.S. Balanathan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of Forest Force, Tamil Nadu, told The Hindu that the tiger census data released by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests on Monday stated that the big cat population in the State, which was declared as 76 during the 2006 census, had touched 163. The increase was more than 100 per cent, he said. K. Shankar, Professor and Research Co-ordinator, who supervised the census operations in the States of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, said 30 per cent of the tiger population was found outside the Tiger Reserves.

As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, in the Moyar-Sigur-Sathyamangalam belt alone the authorities recorded the presence of over 50 tigers.

This was one of the factors that contributed to the increased tiger population, he said. In Aanamalai and Parambikulam Tiger Reserves, the authorities counted the presence of 34 tigers. Similarly, in the Kalakkad–Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve and its adjoining Periyar Tiger Reserve, the authorities recorded 38 tigers. Interestingly, the census data revealed the presence of adult animals which were more than one year old, Dr. Shankar said. A marginal increase has been recorded in the population of tigers in Kerala and Karnataka. While Karnataka recorded an increase of 10 tigers, it was 25 in Kerala, he added.