The latest tiger census has registered an increase of about 10 per cent in the country’s tiger population. The last census, in 2004-05, showed a tally of 1,411; there are now 100-140 tigers more, according to the 2009-10 report, which will officially be released on March 28.
For the first time, the line transact and camera trapping method was used for the count, carried out last year. These methods are considered to be more scientific than the old pug-mark and waterhole method.
India’s tiger population had showed a sharp fall from 3,642 in the 2001-02 census to 1,411 in the 2004-05 census.
“Considering the increase in local human population and the growing biotic pressure on tiger habitat, it should be considered a good effort that we have retained our numbers and added some more,” said a source.
Like the earlier census, the tally mostly includes adult tigers in protected areas like tiger reserves, national parks and sanctuaries.
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“We have all our hopes pinned on protected areas,” said a senior official.
But many ground-level conservationists say the census doesn’t take a serious look at non-protected areas, which have a sizeable tiger population. One such area is the 250 sq km forest covered by three ranges — Kuhi and Bhiwapur in Nagpur and the adjoining Paoni in Bhandara district.