Andhra Pradesh

Conservationists elated as Andhra Pradesh sees remarkable increase in tiger numbers

Cat count: The Forest Department says it has conclusive proof of the presence of 60 big cats in the NSTR.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

The tiger is burning bright in Andhra Pradesh and the rising number of adult and sub-adult big cats during the last five years has filled conservationists with satisfaction.

Of the 3,980 tigers left in the world, India, with 2,967, accounts for 75%. The magnificent animal is at the top of the food pyramid and is vital to maintain the ecosystem. A massive conservation effort spearheaded by the Forest Department and many global NGOs has started showing results as is evident from the tangible increase in the population of tigers.

Tiger census

The Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) is the largest one in the country and it is here the number of big cats is on the rise. According to the tiger census carried out by the Wildlife Institute of India and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (2018) and released on July 29, 2019, Andhra Pradesh has 48 adult tigers and Telangana 26, in comparison with 68 (2014), 72 (2010) and 95 (2006).

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of Forest Force, N. Prateep Kumar, told The Hindu that the department had conclusive proof of the presence of 60 big cats in the NSTR, an increase of about 12 (adults) over the last one year.

“We have camera trap images of each of 60 tigers. The remarkable rise in numbers is due to the persistent efforts of the department through the local community, intense patrolling and conservation methods,’’ Mr. Prateep Kumar said.

Stock benefit

He said the NSTR provided stock benefit of ₹50,130 crore and flow benefit of ₹16,202 crore which came to ₹4 lakh per hectare. The annual tangible and intangible benefits of the NSTR were valued at ₹76.7 crore and ₹66,354 crore respectively.

In spite of limited support, the Forest Department has fared well in tiger conservation by engaging the local tribals, numbering 500, undertaking active surveillance by using sensor-based camera traps and ensuring 24 X7 patrolling by the personnel.

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The article has been edited to correct a factual error that India had 2,226 tigers according to Tiger Census Report, 2018. The actual number of tigers in India is 2,967. The error is regretted.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 7:41:44 PM |

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