New Delhi: India has approximately 1,411 tigers left, give or take a few, according to the latest census released on Tuesday by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), part of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
The number marks a steep fall from the 3,058 tigers India had according to a census released 2002, although Rajesh Gopal, director, NTCA admitted that the number was possibly inflated and the survey itself flawed.
Accounting for the statistical error of 17.4% in the new census, this means that the actual count of tigers could range between 1,165 and 1,657.
The census report said that the status of the tiger, and its co-predators, prey and habitat has not significantly changed in the tiger reserves and protected areas. It added that there has been a decline in these parameters outside protected areas.
The latest census, initiated in 2002 and conducted over five years, used new state-of-the-art technology and counting measures, according to Gopal.
“The new methodology includes the old method of pugmarks and other evidence as well as camera traps, remote sensing data through GIS and other robust statistical approaches,” said Gopal. The new census has been audited and peer-reviewed.
Among the areas with high tiger densities are the Shivalik-Gangetic plain (Corbett National Park), Central Indian Landscape (Kanha National Park) and the north eastern hills and Brahmaputra plains (Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Parks). Among states, Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers at 300. Karnataka has 290 and Uttarakhand, 178.
The next count will begin in this year.