Superior techniques needed for accurate tiger census, says forest official

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Garo Hills (Meghalaya), Feb 18 (ANI): With unofficial estimates of the tiger population in India being as low as 1,100-1,200, forest officials in Meghalaya have called for the availability of advanced techniques for more accurate census-taking.

Forest Officer S. Kumar has said that the forest department has asked the Wildlife Institute of India to use advanced census-taking techniques to find the exact number of tigers in the state.

"They had written also from the Central Government side to the Wildlife Institute of India; (they) were supposed to become the experts to carry out this chart method and other advanced techniques of taking census of tigers to at least do the survey in Meghalaya," Kumar added.

Project Tiger currently active in Meghalaya has said that there are only 47 tigers left in the state according to the census of 2002. This could well mean that the actual number of tigers left in the state in 2010 is significantly lower but officials are unsure on that head.

"We are still, you can say, gaping in the dark regarding the accuracy of the possible tiger population in the state, although we are confident, there are evidences science seen in the several corners of the state about the presence of tigers," said Kumar.

Tiger census of different states has shown an alarmingly sharp decrease in numbers, after which environmentalists and government organisations are under a lot of pressure.

Since January, the environmental group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) India, has spearheaded a public awareness campaign, led by the Indian cricket and football captains, which has received close to 100,000 pledges of support on its website.

Poaching and loss of habitat have caused tiger numbers to plunge from around 40,000 at the turn of the 20th century in India. (ANI)

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