Ha! i hope the title wasn’t misleading
maybe this is a precursor to our success this year!!!
Reversing the demise of wild tigers
March 29, 2011
DELHI: The number of tigers in India has risen for the first time in a decade, according to a new official census.
Campaigners and officials have hailed the news as proving that the big cat, the population of which has declined 97 per cent in the past century, can still be saved.
In India many tigers continue to be killed by poachers or die as a result of pressures on their natural habitats from a rapidly growing human population and environmental damage caused by lack of governance and a booming economy. There are about 3000 wild tigers in the world, of which around half live in India.
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On the way back … tiger numbers have risen in India. Photo: Reuters
Published last week in Delhi, the new census is believed to put the total number of wild tigers in India at about 1550, 10 per cent more than in 2008.
However, this may prove controversial as this census has included the vast jungle and swamp areas of the Sunderbans, an estuary zone on the Bay of Bengal, which had previously proved too difficult to properly survey.
Conservationists are also uncertain of the accuracy of the latest figures, claiming that the methods used allow the same tiger to be counted several times.
‘‘A 10 per cent increase is good news and very significant but you can always fudge the figures if you want to whatever counting method you use,’’ said M.K. Ranjitsinh, the chairman of the Wildlife Trust of India and one of India’s best known tiger campaigners.
In the 1970s the Indian tiger population dropped to nearly a thousand. A major effort to establish reserves and increase protection of the animals resulted in numbers trebling by the end of the 1990s.
But problems remain. Many villages remain either within reserves or close to them and local people are frequently attacked while collecting wood or walking to their fields.
‘‘The human population continues to grow and that means reduction of prey, threats to the isolation of the tiger habitat and increasing danger of direct human-tiger conflict. We may have won a battle but you have to win the war,’’ Mr Ranjitsinh said.