Saturday, August 26, 2006

Tiger Census Report by December 2007

Special Correspondent
"It will be authentic and final"
NEW DELHI: The final report of the tiger census will be ready by December 2007, according to the Union Environment and Forests Ministry. About 88,000 personnel were involved in the exercise.
Project Tiger, the ambitious wildlife conservation venture of the Government, has almost completed data collection for its first two phases and its report will come out by December this year. The work of collecting data for phase three is going on and the final report will be completed by November next.
Methodologies
Presenting a report on the status of Project Tiger, Union Environment and Forests Secretary Prodipto Ghosh told reporters here on Friday that the Wildlife Institute of India was using the most modern methods to come to its conclusion. "Whatever numbers we arrive at after the exercise is complete, it will be authentic and final," he said.
Phase one of the report will be about the distribution of tiger and the state of its habitat, while the second phase deals with the tiger population.
The three main methodologies being used for the census are: camera trap that enables one to identify individual tigers by the pattern of their stripe; the DNA profile, which is taken from the faeces of the animal; and the pug mark. The forest area has been divided into eight segments but a reason for concern is that there is no corridor, which is essential for the existence of the tigers. This time, the emphasis is more on monitoring the present status and future of the habitat of tiger than on simple counting.
According to experts, India is not the only country that has suffered tiger loss, rather the loss has been less here than in other countries. Twenty-six per cent of the districts have lost tiger population in the past 80-100 years but this is low when compared globally. Human pressure on land has been one of the most obvious causes for the loss of the animal's habitat, the experts said.

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