Tiger count to be an annual affair

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Tiger count to be an annual affair

06 Jul 2009 08:14:33 AM IST

BANGALORE: Tiger count will be an annual affair now. Alarmed over the deaths of tigers in the country, the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) are planning to have the tiger census annually.

However, this time the ministry is calling for an independent evaluation of the 37 tiger reserves.

“Animals need to be scientifically monitored annually, like we review our financial data every March,” says Sanjay Gubbi of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The balance sheet of animal populations should be done annually, Gubbi said.

Sanjay said earlier that tiger census was done only once in three years and that too using a flawed method involving pug marks.
He said that with the environment ministry calling for an independent audit, there was a great chance for quality control.

To prove his point further, Sanjay Gubbi said that in the 2006 tiger evaluation report, constituted by Project Tiger and Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, the team comprising Negi and Chakraborti, both retired forest officials of Karnataka, had evaluated Panna Tiger Reserve and given it a marks of around 135 out of 185.

They had also said that Panna was an excellent tiger reserve. However, we know there are no tigers in Panna now, Sanjay said. For these reasons, Gubbi said, an independent scientific evaluation was required.

Praveen Bhargava of Wildlife First said that audit by nature had to be independent.

It needed to be carried out by an independent researcher with scientific expertise, he added. The results could be peer-reviewed so that the findings were authenticated.

PCCF (wildlife), B K Singh, speaking to Express, said he was not aware of any such plans of MoEF but on July 18 there was a meeting convened of all the field directors of tiger reserves, in Ranthambore.
There were many things on the agenda, including status of the buffer zone, intelligence gathering, status of special protection force, tiger conservation plan and NREGA.


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