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Over half of tigers lost in 5 years: census

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Aarti Dhar

NEW DELHI: India has lost more than 50 per cent of its tiger population in the past five years with the numbers dwindling to 1,411 from 3,642 in 2001-02, according to the latest tiger census report.

The “State of tiger, co-predators and prey in India” report, released here on Tuesday, said there had been an overall decrease in the tiger population except in Tamil Nadu where the numbers have gone up substantially from 60 in 2001-02 to 76.

The counting could not be carried out in the Indravati Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh and Palamau Tiger Reserve in Jharkhand due to inaccessibility because of naxalite problem while estimation is on in the massive Sunderbans area in West Bengal.

However, based on available data in Palamau Tiger Reserve, the report indicates a low density of tiger in the area ranging from 0.5 to 1.5 per 100 sq.km.

GIS technology

Adopting a 17.43 per cent coefficient of variation in the figures estimated with the latest GIS technology instead of the pugmark methodology, the report, however, says that the status of its co-predators, prey and habitat has not adversely changed in the reserves and protected area; the decline has been in the outside areas.

The assessment has shown that the tiger has suffered due to direct poaching, loss of quality habitat and its prey.

The State-wise analysis has shown that Andhra Pradesh has 95 tigers (as against 192 in 2001-02), Chhattisgarh 26 (227), Madhya Pradesh 300 (710), Maharashtra 103 (238), Orissa 45 (173), Rajasthan 32 (58). Sariska has no tigers left.

In the Western Ghats, Karnataka has 290 (401), Kerala 46 (71) and Tamil Nadu 76 (60).

In the North East Hills and Brahmaputra Plains, Assam has only 70 tigers against 354 in the previous census.

Arunachal Pradesh has 14 tigers against 61, Mizoram only 6 (28) and North West Bengal 10 against 349 earlier, though figures from the Sunderbans regions are yet to be compiled.

The north-eastern region is a heavy rainfall area and does not support high tiger populations.

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