Daily Management Review

Only 106 Stripped Royal Bengal Tigers Exist in the Wild Today


07/27/2015




Global Tiger Numbers have Reached 3,200 from 100,000 in 1900:WWF

Only 106 Stripped Royal Bengal Tigers Exist in the Wild Today
There are more Royal Bengal Tigers in the Sunderbans than was estimated. This has elated the environmentalists as well as the government officials of India and Bangladesh.

Royal Bengal Tigers, the only species of stripped tigers found in the world is found only in the Sunderbans, the largest mangrove forests in the world. Sunderbans is spread over an area of 10,000 square kilometres or 3,860 square miles between India and adjoining Bangladesh.

The population of the striped tiger has increased since the last tiger census that was conducted in 2011 by the Indian and the Bangladeshi governments has estimated the existence of around 64 tigers.
However the most recent census, reports of which are yet to be released officially, pegged the figure somewhere close to 106.

“Analysis of camera footage from the year-long survey that ended in April found numbers ranged between 83 and 130, giving an average of 106,” said Tapan Kumar Dey, the government’s wildlife conservator.

There was however major controversy about the number of tigers that dwelled in the Sunderban jungles after a tiger census in 2004 conducted by the Indian government. An astounding 440 tigers were claimed to have been recorded during the previous census. However most of the experts were of the view that the number was unrealistically high and that the Sunderbans could not hold so many tigers at time.

The latest census, however has managed to satisfy most of the experts. The census conducting officials claimed that better methodology was the reason for the huge drop in the numbers since the 2004 census.

This is the second time that hidden cameras were used to record the movement of the stripped big cats and make an estimation of the numbers. The cameras had been hidden in trees to record the numbers.  Camera trap solutions were set up in the four ranges of the Sundarban Tiger Reserve and the adjoining South 24 Parganas districts in the West Bengal province of India. The study conclusions were drawn based on analysis of over 800 photographs of the animals in the wild.

This technology was first used in 2011for the tiger census. “At that time there were still some problems with the accuracy of the technology and the calculations,’ said a government official. However the latest census of tigers is the most accurate and provides the most accurate figures.

Prior to 2011, tiger pug marks were used to identify individual tigers and make an estimation of the number of tigers. The assumption was that every tiger has a distinct pug mark, much like the finger print of humans. But the system was flawed as was evident from the comparison of the results of 2004 and 2015 which indicates a very significant difference in the number of tigers counted in the two census.

According to the 2015 census the 14 square kilometer to 18 square kilometer is the density of the tiger population in the SUnderban. Despite a shortage of the prey base for the animal, the study indicated Sundarbans was a healthy habitat for the big cats.

The Indian side of the Sundarbans makes up nearly 40% of the forest that straddles both India and Bangladesh. The Royal Bengal Tigers primarily stay on the Indian side of the forests.

The governments of both the countries are actively engaged in conservational activities for the tigers which, according to the World Wildlife Fund, faced the threat of extinction in the wild. The world environment protection body says that the global numbers of tigers have fallen from 100,000 in 1900 to around 3,200 at present.

 (Source: www.theguardian.com) 






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