(Bjoem Ognibeni)

Tiger population in India increases by 20%

2nd August 2011

Official figures reveal India's tiger population has increased by 20% in the last four years

According to India's Environment and Forests Ministry, there are now 1,706 tigers living in and around reservations, national parks and forests throughout the country, compared to 1,411 in 2006.

"The increase in tiger numbers is due to the fact that tiger populations in (the states of) Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka have shown an increase in tiger density," the Ministry has said.

"The inclusion of Sunderbans, some portions of North East and parts of Maharashtra have also contributed to the increase."

The assessment of tigers, co-predators and prey, which included 477,000 work days by forest staff and 37,000 work days by professional biologists, is the largest of its kind in the world. Taken every four years, the survey is a collaboration between the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the Wildlife Institute of India and outside expertise.

However, the Ministry has warned that although tiger numbers have increased, they are still in danger due to a 12.6% loss of habitat. This has resulted in more of them being cramped into a smaller area and raising risks of big cats straying into human settlements.

Renowned artist and conservationist David Shepherd, founder of 'TigerTime', a movement to prevent the extinction of the tiger, says on the TigerTime website that, "The staggering growth in the human population throughout the tiger’s range countries means less and less space for the tiger and the depletion of its prey forcing it into conflict with humans." Follow @TigerTimeNow on Twitter. 

The World Wildlife Fund had noted in March that tiger population recovery requires strong protection of core tiger areas and areas that link them, as well as effective management in the surrounding areas.

Mike Baltzer, head of wildlife organisation's Tigers Alive Initiative said,"With these two vital conservation ingredients, we can not only halt their decline, but ensure tigers make a strong and lasting comeback."


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