Feedback from the field on the number of tiger sightings, especially during the recently-concluded census, has been very encouraging as regards growth of tiger population, V.K. Melkani, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Project Tiger), has said.
Talking to The Hindu here on Friday, Mr. Melkani said that a number of people involved in census had seen more tigers in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) and Nilgiris South followed by Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR), Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR) and Kalakad – Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR).
The STR and the KMTR sanctuaries also continue to be hosts for tiger population from the neighbouring forests such as Wayanad and Periyar Tiger Reserve respectively.
Forms filled in by volunteers who took part in the census are in safe custody of the respective field level officials. Tamil Nadu was waiting for funds from National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and training in data entry by Wildlife Institute of India (WWI) after which the data entry process would be completed and sent to NTCA.
Compiled census data was expected to be released in early 2015, Mr. Melkani said.
On completion of these procedures, GIS mapping would be done for ascertaining population density per habitat and also vegetation in the pockets to assess prey-base support.
Tiger population was reported at 1,706 in 2011 against the previous figure of 1,411.
Hence, growth in population of tigers is most likely, he said.
Mr. Melkani also pointed out that but for the death of one tiger in an accident in the Nilgiris, there had not been any other loss of tiger and incidents of poaching had been zero in the recent years in the four tiger reserves of Tamil Nadu.