Endangered

Monitoring Tigers in the Twenty-First Century India-Part III

-Vinod Rishi

Here is the third part of an article published by Shri Vinod Rishi in
The Indian Forester. Vol.136:10. Wild Life Special. 

Shri Vinod Rishi is IFS – retd. and a Former Additional Director General of Forests
(Wildlife), Govt. of India; E-mail: vinodrishi@rediffemail.com

State Level Monitoring

Table1

 Estimated Tiger Populations In Some States*

STATES

MIN

MID-VALUE

MAX

BIHAR

7

10

13

CHHATISGARH

23

26

28

ORISSA

37

45

53

RAJASTHAN

30

32

35

KERALA

39

46

53

ARUNACHAL

12

14

18

MIZORAM

4

6

8

N. WEST BENGAL

8

10

12



*Source: Status of Tigers, Co-predators & Prey in India. NTCA.
At the State level, too, the results do not help in meaningful understanding of tiger
populations:

A.    The range of values in small populations is too wide to given any meaning to the
record of the status of tigers in the State.

B.    The statistical range of values has created a smoke-screen over the tiger
conservation efforts. For instance, the estimated range of tiger population in Arunachal
Pradesh is shown as 12 to 18 tigers with a mid value 14 (Table). So long as the local
information places the figure for tigers anywhere within the range – arrived at by a more
trusted scientific exercise by an authority no less than NTCA – there is no cause for any
alarm even if poachers take a few tigers, as long as their presence or activity is not
detected. The advantage goes to the poachers.

C. The Information Generated by the Approach The foundation stone of conservation of tiger in India starts with the knowledge about some basic aspects. When we examine the results of the NTCA’s Holistic Approach for providing this knowledge, it is evident that even 5 years after the collection of field data the exercise has failed to provide the crucial information it was supposed to have given:


a)    How Many Tigers? Not precisely known at national or state levels!
b)    Population Trends? Cannot be known; structure of the populations is not known!
c)    Areas where decreasing & why? Cannot be known; tiger occupancy maps and records are defective!
d)    Status of tiger’s wild prey? Not yet available.
e)    State of tiger habitat? Not yet available.
f)    Spacing & connectivity of Wildlife Populations? Not yet available.

It raises a question: for whose benefit the current approach was adopted – tiger
conservation or academic advancement?


-To be Continued


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