Now, tiger conservation to go hi-tech
10 Nov 2008, 0255 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: The tigers, anywhere in the country, will now be monitored for every move that they make — in the dense of the forests or on the fringes. The conservationists will study the source populations of the wild cats with the help of ‘science’ and ‘technology’.
All the 28 tiger reserves will be set in a loop through GIS-based software and camera trap techniques. The hi-tech conservation will help in designing a proper mechanism for saving the tigers inside and outside reserve areas.
The national tiger conservation authority (NTCA), a statutory body under the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF), has decided to outsource the job of designing a special software for intensively monitoring source populations of tigers in the areas that have substantial number of wild cats.
The source populations are the set of tigers present in the core areas of the forest. These populations will be thoroughly observed for their behaviours, threats/challenges and ecology. “This will help in knowing the tigers better and what is affecting them because this population reflects the health of forest area,” said a member in NTCA.
The projected number of approximately 1,400 tigers present in the country in the February 2008 census has almost coaxed conservationists to study the root cause of the dwindling tiger populations in almost all the reserves. The recommendations towards the same were made by the census conducting body Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in the report submitted with the Project Tiger.
The conservationists are turning to ‘source’ populations for basic facts on the big cats like their dispersing area, their birth and survival rate, the condition of their habitat and shrinking prey base.
“Tiger census earlier was more or less like a ritual, very much like a human census after specific time periods but now it will be a comprehensive monitoring and there will be a change in census procedure”, said Qamar Qureshi, scientist, Wildlife Institute of India (WII), who was part of the tiger census team at Dudhwa reserve.