Everything You Need to Know About The 2019 Tiger census

By Mini Agarwal
3. Tiger at Bandipur Tiger reserve forest
Tiger at Bandipur Tiger reserve forest ©️ Sanjoy Chowdhury / Shutterstock

Everything You Need to Know About The 2019 Tiger census

International Tiger Day – 29 July
How the results compare to 2008
How technology assisted the 2019 Tiger Census
Tiger deaths still persist


The latest tiger census has proved that India has been able to improve on its housing conditions for the majestic beasts that are endangered due to human population and activities.

With 2967 reported tigers pan-India, the number has increased by double relative to the first tiger census that was conducted exactly a decade ago in 2008 by the Wildlife Institute of India.

According to the Tiger Census Report, In 2018, the tiger population in India increased to 2967 from 2226 in 2014 which led to doing a direct 33 percent rise.

The International Tiger Day falls on July 29 every year and all around the world, it is the day to raise awareness about tiger conservation.

Tiger in Ranthambore National park

Tiger in Ranthambore National park ©️ Ondrej Prosicky / Shutterstock


International Tiger Day – 29 July

The International Tiger Day aims to spread awareness about the endangered tiger. The event has been in existence since 2010, as it marks the day when 13 countries signed an agreement to raise awareness regarding the decline in the global population of tigers, as well as the need to protect the natural habitats of tigers.

The 2018 tiger census was announced by the Indian government on the occasion of International Tiger Day on 29 July 2019. The census was due over a year ago but the results were delayed which some speculate could be an attempt to fudge numbers in order to avoid international criticism.

The latest survey used over 26,000 camera traps that were spread over 3,81,000 sq km of area and captured over 350,000 images of known tiger habitats. The forest rangers also covered over 5,00,000 km on foot for this survey.

Bengal Tiger yawns submerged in the water of a marshy swamp at Sunderbans National Park

Bengal Tiger yawns submerged in the water of a marshy swamp at Sunderbans National Park ©️ Roop Dey / Shutterstock


How the results compare to 2008

The results of the latest tiger census are very encouraging as they suggest that the approach and methodology adopted to conserve tigers have been effective. The first-ever census over a decade ago reported that there were 1411 tigers in India. The number of tigers now is nearing 3000!

The number of tigers has doubled in regions like the Shivalik Gangetic region, North East hills and Brahmaputra plains, Western Ghats, and more. Moreover, the Sunderbans that had entirely lost its population of Royal Bengal Tiger now houses almost a hundred tigers.

While these achievements do call for celebration, there are also states where the story has not been as inspiring. The state of Mizoram has zero tigers and the Dampa Tiger Reserve has no resident tigers at the moment; the Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal, as well as the Palamau Tiger Reserve in Jharkhand, also do not have a tiger population residing there anymore.

How technology assisted the 2019 Tiger Census

Over the years, scientists and involved methodologists have relied upon paw-prints and pugmarks, scats, and leftover prey to collect raw data about the number of tigers. After this first step, the data collected from camera traps is also used to identify individual tigers.

The latest census has introduced, alongside these tried and trusted methods, an Android application. It is stated that this app will enable the tier count to be more accurate.

Tigers in Corbett National Park

Tigers in Corbett National Park ©️ Shivaram Subramaniam / Shutterstock


Tiger deaths still persist

The natural death of tigers is absolutely unalarming, but data has shown that India has lost a significant number of tigers to unnatural causes as well. Out of the 560 tiger deaths reported between the span of 2012 and 2017, 308 deaths were owing to natural causes.

123 tigers died due to poaching activities, alarming the need for stricter laws against the activity. While 90 tigers died of seizures, 39 deaths were caused by accidents on the road or on train tracks.

This reminds us that India is not yet at the stage where it is doing all that is possible to defend its tigers, and more steps are needed in the direction to conserve tigers and allow them a safe space to live.

In 2006, the tiger population came down to an all-time low of 1,411, but it has since increased at a positive rate.

Tiger in Ranthambhore National Park

Tiger in Ranthambhore National Park ©️ Thomas Ruschmeier

We need to protect tigers in order to conserve our entire ecosystem. According to WWF, over 830 million people rely on the water that is released by tiger range forests in Asia. More importantly, forests also help control the disastrous effects of climate change. Saving tigers and their habitats don’t just protect these big cats, but they also help save complete ecosystems with millions of species and support both rural and urban populations.

A new research report by TOFTigers indicates that the rural green economy has the potential to provide new economic opportunities and livelihood to the communities living in the adjacent areas which can, in turn, improve living standards, decrease rural poverty, and raise educational standards. Opening wildlife parks are also a great way to make people more aware of the current situation of our forests and increase revenue for protection and conservation. Establishing visitor parks can also help avoid illegal grazers, woodchoppers, and poachers while shining light on the magnificent wildlife in the area.

You can join in this rising tide of hope and success, by visiting a great reserve or National park during your India trip, a phenomenal nature guide or knowledgeable naturalist will bring all closer to the Indian wildlife, you will stay in a sensational ecolodge and will also visit a ground-breaking community project.

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