WII to start tiger census this month
TNN 5 October 2009, 06:05am IST
LUCKNOW: Tigers all over get ready for the roll call. It is time to see how many of the voices from 2007-count will be missing the call this time.
Will the number of tigers go up or low from 1,411 counted in 2007, the first scientific tiger census ever.
The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is starting population estimation work for tigers this month. The strategy is prepared for tiger-moorings in at least 17 states including UP. According to February 2008 census, 109 tigers were found to cover 2,766 sq km of forest area in UP.
But five big cats from UP will be missing the census already for being no more. According to figures compiled by Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) UP has lost five of its tigers in 2009. The young tigress which wandered out of Pilibhit and was shot dead by the forest department in Faizabad, figures among the losses. The state has reported two cases of poaching also.
This time around Dudhwa tiger reserve (DTR) is one of the sites chosen for camera trappings. WII might use camera trap in 10% of tiger-occupied forest as was done in 2007 estimation. DTR comprises Dudhwa National Park, Kishenpur and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuaries. Core area has entire 203 sq km of Kishenpur sanctuary and a part of 615 sq km of Dudhwa National Park. Buffer area might be around 66 sq km.
Besides, for Pilibhit forest which has already been proposed as another tiger reserve in the state WII is still to decide the procedure. "I am not sure as yet what will be the level of data collection in Pilibhit. We will decide by October end whether we are going to camera trap or do sign survey only. Prefer to do camera trapping, it all depends on situation there," said Qamar Qureshi, scientist, WII.
Since last census figures came in February 2008, at least 95 tigers have already been reported dead -- 28 in 2008 and 67 in 2009. The big cats had been either poached, died in an accident or lost to ailments.
The government stated that there have been 52 tiger deaths this year but the NGO Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) which maintains a proper wildlife crime databse pegs the mortalities at 67 between January and August 19, 2009. The deaths have been reported across the states including Uttar Pradesh.
Out of the total 67 incidents this year, 24 cases are that of tiger poaching and seizures. The rest of the deaths have been caused by either accidents or natural reasons. The best of which could be stated after post mortem report comes.