All India Tiger Estimation 2022

Context: According to an updated analysis of the 2022 tiger census released recently, India’s tiger population increased to 3,682 in 2022, from 2,967 in 2018. About All India Tiger Estimation 2022:
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • Trends in Tiger Population:
    • India is home to approximately 75 percent of the world’s tiger population.
    • Madhya Pradesh has the maximum number (785) of tigers in the country, followed by Karnataka (563)Uttarakhand (560), and Maharashtra (444).
    • The number of tigers “within the tiger reserve” is highest in Corbett (260), followed by Bandipur (150), Nagarhole (141), Bandhavgarh (135), Dudhwa (135), Mudumalai(114), Kanha (105).
    • Increase: Central India, the Shivalik Hills, and the Gangetic plains witnessed increases in tiger population, particularly in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Maharashtra.
    • Decrease: Western Ghats experienced localized declines, needing targeted monitoring and conservation efforts.
      • Mizoram, Nagaland, Jharkhand, Goa, Chhattisgarh, and Arunachal Pradesh — have reported “disquieting trends”.
  • Approximately 35% of the tiger reserves urgently required enhanced protection measures, habitat restoration, ungulate (deer, chital, blackbuck) augmentation, and subsequent tiger reintroduction.
Methodology used in all India Tiger Estimation:
  • Double Sampling Methodology: It involves ground surveys of all tiger bearing forests, estimating prey abundance, understanding habitat characteristics, mapping other tiger signs, and camera trap pictures of tigers.
Protection Status of Tiger:
  • Schedule I: Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
  • Endangered: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List
  • Appendix I: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
Tiger Landscapes of India:
  • Shivalik Hills and the Gangetic Plains
  • Central India
  • Eastern Ghats
  • Western Ghats
  • North-Eastern Hills and Brahmaputra Plains
  • Sunderbans

Image Credits: Hindustan Times

  • Poaching: Poaching is driven by tiger parts used in traditional Chinese medicines, tiger skin is used for decorative and medicinal purposes.
    • Further, their demand for organs are big hurdles to survival.
  • Habitat Loss: The fragmentation of tiger habitats due to human activities such as agriculture, logging, and infrastructure development continue to threaten tiger populations and give rise to Tiger-Human conflicts.
  • Lack of resources: The resources available for the management and protection of tiger reserves are limited.
  • Climate change: Climate change may affect tiger habitats, prey availability, and other aspects of tiger ecology, which could further threaten tiger populations in the long term.
Benefits of Conserving Tigers:
  • Umbrella Species: Tiger is an “umbrella species” which ensures viable populations of other wild animals (co-predators, prey) and forest, thereby ensuring the ecological viability of the entire area and habitat,
  • Food Chain: It is a top predator which is at the apex of the food chain and keeps the population of wild ungulates in check, thereby maintaining the balance between herbivores and the vegetation upon which they feed.
  • Tourism: Tigers are an iconic species and attract a large number of tourists to protected areas. Ecotourism generates income for local communities and contributes to the economy.
  • Carbon sequestration: Tiger habitats, particularly forests, are important for carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation.
    • Conserving these habitats helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow down the pace of climate change.
Indian initiatives to Protect Tiger:
  • Project Tiger: It was launched in 1973 from Jim Corbett National Park, Uttrakhand.
    • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of MoEFCC, for creating a network of Tiger reserves and providing central assistance to tiger States for tiger conservation in designated tiger reserves in India. 
    • The project is administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • Tiger Census: The Government conducts a national tiger census every four years to estimate the tiger population in the country.
  • Tiger Conservation Plan: It is a document mandated under Section 38 V of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for each tiger reserve, which prescribes management interventions for the said tiger reserve.
    • A Tiger Conservation Plan consists of three parts namely:
      • Core Plan
      • Buffer Plan
      • Adjoining Area/Corridor Plan
  • Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards: CA|TS is a comprehensive system that will provide a reference point to evaluate the existing management effectiveness of tiger conservation within integrated landscape planning, and ensure that benefits from these efforts are optimized.
  • Community Reserves: The Government has also established Conservation Reserves and Community Reserves to protect critical tiger habitats outside of the designated tiger reserves.
  • Lidar-based survey technology is being used to deal with the challenge of human-animal conflict that was causing the death of animals.
  • M-STrIPES (Monitoring system for tigers – intensive protection and ecological status): It uses GPS to geotag photo-evidences and survey information of tiger.
  • CaTRAT (Camera Trap data Repository and Analysis Tool) for automated segregation of camera trap photographs to species.
Global Initiatives to Protect Tiger:
  • Global Tiger Forum (GTF): Established in 1994, the Global Tiger Forum is the only inter-governmental body for tiger conservation.
    • Its membership includes seven tiger range countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal and Vietnam.
  • Global Tiger Initiative (GTI): It was launched in 2008 as a global alliance of governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector with the aim of working together to save wild tigers from extinction.
  • St. Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation: It was adopted in 2010, by the leaders of 13 tiger range countries (TRCs) assembled at an International Tiger Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia.
    • 13 tiger range countries – India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Way Forward:
  • Minimize man-animal conflict: The National Tiger Conservation Authority has issued SOPs to deal with emergencies arising due to straying of tigers in human dominated landscapes.
    • These SOPs provide a structured framework for the implementation of tiger conservation initiatives which include monitoring, protection, habitat management.
  • Habitat Protection and Restoration: Tigers need large areas of forest to live and hunt, so protecting and restoring their habitat is crucial to their survival.
  • Anti-Poaching Efforts: Anti-poaching efforts involve monitoring tiger populations and cracking down on illegal wildlife trade.
    • Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) is a force raised on lines of the India Reserve Battalion. It is deployed in Tiger Reserves for focused anti-poaching operations.
  • Conflict Mitigation: As human populations grow and encroach on tiger habitat, conflicts between people and tigers can arise.
    • Efforts to mitigate these conflicts can include measures such as relocating problem tigers or providing compensation to people who have lost livestock or crops to tigers.
  • Education and Awareness: Raising awareness about the importance of tiger conservation and the threats facing tiger populations is key to building support for conservation efforts.
Key Facts: National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA):
  • NTCA is a statutory body established in 2005 following the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
Merger of Project Tiger and Project Elephant:
  • Project Tiger and Project Elephant have been merged into a new division called the ‘Project Tiger and Elephant Division’ under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • Reason for Merger:
    • Rationalizing of Funding: The unification of Project Tiger and Project Elephant has been done to rationalize funding.
    • Amalgamation to Strengthen Conservation: The amalgamation will bolster the conservation of both the animals, as they often share the same landscapes in the country.
 News Source: The Hindu
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