Synchronised data collection will begin simultaneously in four Southern States

The synchronised phase one data collection for tiger census will begin simultaneously in the four Southern States – Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnata – on November 17.

K. Sankar, Senior Scientist and Research Coordinator, Wildlife Institute of India (WII), who conducted the regional training workshop for the officials of the four southern states told The Hindu that the work has to be completed before March next year. Dr. Sankar said information on prey-base encounter rate, dung or pellet abundance, carnivore sign survey, habitat quality assessment and evaluation of anthropogenic pressure have to be collected in the first phase, all of which have to be sent to the WII.

The institute would analyse the data collected by the Forest department in the first phase. The works would be taken up in the second phase, he said.

The third phase would include actual density estimation of the tiger’s prey base and population estimation of tigers by using mark-recapture technique.

The WII conducted regional training workshops in Thekkadi for capacity building for forest staff from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra.

The data of the tiger census would be released by December 2014.

The population of tigers in the country increased from 1,411 in 2006 to 1,706 in 2010.

In the corresponding period, the tiger-occupied area in the country had shrunk from 93,697 sqkm in 2006 to 81,881 sqkm in 2010.

Out of 20 tiger-occupied States in the country, its population increased only in six States, including Tamil Nadu. Dr. Sankar said Sathyamangalam, recently declared as a tiger reserve in the State, showed remarkable habitat recovery due to increased protection. The big cat population in the State is expected to increase this time also, he added.

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