Tigers making steady stride in Kerala

Latest estimation puts the population at 190

July 28, 2020 09:34 pm | Updated July 29, 2020 08:53 am IST - Kochi

The forests of Kerala, it seems, are providing the right environment for tigers as the population of the big cat is increasing steadily there.

The latest tiger figures, released on Tuesday, put the population at 190. Four years ago, when the estimation was last carried out, the population was estimated to be 136 individuals.

The tiger population for the Western Ghats landscape in 2018 was estimated to be 981 tigers with Karnataka supporting the maximum tigers, 524 big cats, followed by Tamil Nadu, (264) and Kerala.

Zooming down closely on the striped animals, the latest report noted that 26 tigers each were found within the Parambikulam and Periyar Tiger Reserves during 2018-19. Besides the two tiger reserves and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, details of tiger population in the Silent Valley National Park and Ranni and Malayattoor Wildlife Divisions were available during the latest estimation.

In Parambikulam, 254 camera traps that were deployed yielded “468 tiger detections (including 10 images of cubs) from which 27 individual tigers were identified.” The density of tigers in the reserve was estimated to be 1.95 per 100 square km.

Parambikulam scenario

The tiger density in the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve has declined. Last time, the density was estimated to be 2.33. However, images of young tigers coming from the reserve were an encouraging sign, the report noted. In Periyar, 390 camera traps succeeded in identifying 498 tiger detections, from which 26 individual tigers were identified. The density of tigers in the reserve was estimated to be 1.38 per 100 sq km.

“Tiger density remains low in the Periyar Tiger Reserve and is probably a function of low prey density in these forests. Improvement in the protection regime through the implementation of foot patrolling should help control poaching,” the report suggested.

While seven individual tigers each were identified in the Malayattoor wildlife division and Silent Valley National Park, it was three in Ranni. Tiger experts could identify 120 individual tigers from 1,380 tiger detections carried out in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Here, the density of tigers was estimated to be 9.33 per 100 sq km.

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