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India is now home to 2,967 tigers, numbers up by 741 in fourth cycle


New Delhi, July 29: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday released the much-awaited All India Tiger Estimation for the year 2018. The report shows a rise of 33 per cent increase in population over the 2014 number of 2,226.

The numbers mark a significant improvement as India's tiger numbers doubled from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,967 in 2018.

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Releasing results of the fourth cycle of All India Tiger Estimation on Global Tiger Day, Modi added that the government had achieved a "historic feat" and was committed to save the big cat.

"It was decided in 2010 that the target of doubling tiger population would be 2022. We've completed the target four years early. The speed and dedication with which various stakeholders have worked for this is remarkable," said Narendra Modi.

The latest count of tigers' in the country is believed to be the world's largest wildlife survey exercise conducted, in terms of coverage, the intensity of sampling and quantum of camera trapping.

PM Modi presented the award to Sathyamanglam Tiger Reserve, for showing the highest increment in the quadrennial Management Effective Evaluation.

In 2006, when the survey was first conducted, India had only 1,411 tigers.

The numbers rose to 1,706 in 2010 and 2,226 in 2014, with India accounting to the most of 3,500 tigers scattered around the world.

The previous census, Karnataka led the states with 406; Madhya Pradesh had 308; Uttarakhand, 340; and Tamil Nadu had 229.

The census of 2018 is going to be Rs.10 crore exercise probably, and this will include approximately 40,000 forest guards traversing 4,00,000 square kilometers of forests in India. The results of the census, conducted once in four years, has been delayed for over 7 months due to various reaons.

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The survey also gathers complete information about the original population of deer and other wildlife animals, along with tigers.

2018 survey covers Northeast India

Another primary focus of the tiger census 2018 is to cover the northeast India that was not included in the previous census because of the serval reasons. The move will surely go to boast in the number of the tigers as compared to the census 2014.

Bhutan, Nepal, and Bangladesh join hands with India

In a first, countries Bhutan, Nepal, and Bangladesh have come together to count the number of big cats all across India, especially in the region with mutual borders. In the previous census, Nepal and Bangladesh were engaged in the counting.

This is the fourth cycle of the tiger census. The first was conducted in 2006, second in 2010 and third in 2014. A team of over 44,000 officials is working on the census along with 55 biologists, the WII scientist said.

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During the 4th cycle, in sync with Government of India's "Digital India" initiative, data was collected using an Android based application- M-STrIPES ( Monitoring system for Tigers' Intensive Protection and Ecological Status) and analysed on the applications' desktop module.

The, application greatly eased out analysis of a large quantum of data that was collected over nearly 15 months involving survey of 381,400 sq.km. of forested habitats, 522,996 km of walk by State Forest officials, laying of 317,958 habitat plots, totaling a human investment of 5,93,882 man days.

Besides cameras were placed in 26,760 locations which gave a total of 35 million images of wildlife including 76523 images of tigers. Segregation of these images was possible in a short time because of use of artificial intelligence software.

The intensity with which the exercise was conducted resulted in 83 % of the tiger population being captured wherein 2,461 individual tiger photographs were obtained and only 17 % of the tiger population was estimated using robust spatially explicit capture recapture statistical models.

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