Tigers may be down to 1,300
Aalarm bells begin to ring; States reluctant to accept statistics, responsibility
This alarming loss highlights the fact that never before has India had fewer tigers, even in 1972, when the census showed 1,827 tigers.
The current estimates have been arrived at as part of the all-India estimate of tigers conducted by Wildlife Institute of India - a task entrusted to them by Project Tiger. It may be recalled that on May 23, the Ministry of Environment and Forests released
to the media tiger numbers for Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan - the rest detailed are expected to be made public sometime later in the year. ---------------
The enumeration shows that the big cat is severely depleted across its range - in some cases to the point of no return. For example, in Jharkhand(12), Chhattisgarh (25) and Bihar (20), the tiger is almost a write-off. Besides the abysmally low populations,
insurgency plagues protected areas in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, so much so that they are out of administrative control. One can also forget about a safe haven for the tiger in the Northeast, except for Assam which has about 75 tigers, mainly concentrated
in Kaziranga. The rest would not total over 25 spread over three parks - Namdapha has at the most five tigers, with not enough prey base even to sustain these, Dampha in Mizoram would have between three to five, Pakhui-Nameri in Arunachal being the best among
them, with five to eight tigers. The marshy terrain of Sundarbans did not allow for a census by the WII, but a previous enumeration carried out by the Indian Statistical Institute showed that the reserve has no more than 65 tigers, while Buxa and Jaldapara
in North Bengal has a low, unviable population.
Source : http://www.dailypioneer.com
Article by Prerna Singh Bindra on 5July 2007