Recounting in more State tiger habitats

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Recounting in more State tiger habitats

K.S. Sudhi

The Hindu
Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Monday, Oct 06, 2008

More camera traps to be set in the forests

Tiger monitoring protocol to be reviewed

KOCHI: In the light of the outcome of the tiger census conducted in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, the Forest Department now plans to hold an extensive recounting in the remaining tiger habitats in the State.

The census in Wayanad, Gudrikkal and Ranni tiger habitats will begin this year, said J.K. Tewari, Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife).

The census will be completed in Parambikulam this year. More camera traps will be set in these forests. The department plans to buy 20 more digital cameras and the funds from the Union government and the Periyar Foundation will be used for this, Mr. Tewari said.

The department is planning to write to the National Tiger Conservation Authority, pointing out the ‘errors’ that had crept into its tiger report in the light of the recount at the reserve, Mr. Tewari said.

The census conducted by the Wildlife Institute of India for the authority had concluded that there were 23 tigers in the Periyar landscape covering 2,314 of tiger-occupied forests. The number of tigers in the State was put at 46 in 6,168 of the tiger-occupied habitat.

However, the recount carried out by the reserve and the Periyar Foundation had concluded that the reserve had 24 tigers in an area of 640

Digital images

During the recount, digital images of 18 tigers were generated and each one was given a unique identification numbers. When one of the tigers of the reserve died last week, the digital images were used to confirm its identity.

Mr. Tewari said the authority might not correct its report. But the data generated by the recount would be used by the authority to correct its figures in the next census. Though the authority had erred in the census figures in the State, it would not affect Central support for tiger projects in any way.

He said the tiger monitoring protocol in the State would be reviewed and changed. A study on the prey base and prey-predator relationship of the reserve would be commissioned soon.

The study, to be carried out by an external agency, was of significance, as there should be a proper balance between the prey and predator bases for a sustainable tiger population.

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