NTCA to create a national data base for tigers

The National Tiger Conservation Authority has developed live tracking of the animals  

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) will soon create a national data base for tigers, the flagship species of India, and each one of the big cats will have a unique identification number and code. This was announced by Rajesh Gopal, member-secretary of NTCA, during a side event on “Have we turned the corner in tiger conservation?” at the Eleventh Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity here. The UID will be one of the new initiatives of the NTCA taken up as part of better bio-monitoring of tigers.

Experts say this will not only help in enhanced monitoring but give the exact estimate of the tiger population in the country. Camera trap will be used to photograph the tigers from both sides to avoid variation in stripes and a UID allotted to each of them. Another initiative being piloted in Corbett National Park is live electronic surveillance by providing cameras with video recording facility on towers that will help in tracking the movement of animals, human interference and checking poaching, he said.

“E-eye” project encompassing short range infra-red night vision and long range thermal camera stations, remotely operated cameras and wi-max devices, will enable sounding of alerts not only at the local park level but to the NTCA headquarters whenever there is destructive activity. S. P. Yadav of the NTCA demonstrated live tracking of the animals in the park.

This will apart from the Monitoring System for Tigers Intensive Patrolling and Ecological Status (MSTriPes), the software developed by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), to boost tiger conservation efforts through patrolling intensity and spatial coverage, Dr. Gopal said.

‘No development’ zones

At the same session, Joseph Vattakaven, senior coordinator, tiger conservation, WWF-India, surprised the audience by demonstrating through photographs that there was a higher density of tigers per 100 square kilometres outside some of the tiger reserves such as the Nilgiris-Western Ghats stretch where there were 120. Constant monitoring through camera traps could be a good tool in declaring new areas as tiger reserves.