Tiger cell at WII gets 3-year extension | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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Tiger cell at WII gets 3-year extension

The NTCA has granted three-year extension to the country’s lone tiger cell at Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun

dehradun Updated: Aug 02, 2017 20:41 IST
Nihi Sharma
Officials said the extension is a boon for the tiger conservation programme in India.
Officials said the extension is a boon for the tiger conservation programme in India.(HT File/Sarosh Lodhi)

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) – the apex body for the conservation of big cats in India - has granted three-year extension to the country’s lone tiger cell at Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun.

The tiger cell has a repository of more than 1,650 tigers of the total 2,226 reported in the All India Tiger Estimation, 2014.

Officials said the extension is a boon for the tiger conservation programme in India. YV Jhala, senior scientist who heads the cell, said the NTCA gave its nod to the extension after a prolonged meeting with the scientists of WII in New Delhi on August 1. “The extension will be a stepping stone towards cracking whip over poachers and smugglers,” said Jhala, adding, “We would be able to strengthen our database and check wildlife crime.”

The tiger cell has DNA fingerprints from tiger reserves across the nation with photographic evidence of big cats. At present, it is collecting Phase IV monitoring results from 50 tiger reserves. Simultaneously, it is also preparing for the upcoming tiger estimation, slated to start from October-November.

The NTCA came up with the idea of tiger monitoring programme in 2012. The first three phases covered spatial mapping (identifying geographical location), monitoring of tiger habitats, assimilation of spatial data and estimation of tiger and prey population. The authority inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the WII last year in August.

Jhala said the tiger cell has formulated management effective evaluation (MEE) framework that includes evaluation of tiger reserves, developed Monitoring System for Tigers’ Intensive Protection and Ecological Status (MSTrIPES), a software based monitoring system, and adopted globally recognised standard operating procedures (SOP) for All India Tiger Estimation.

The cell has four researchers, each one getting an annual salary package of ₹60 lakh, which is borne by the NTCA. It has approval from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Flora and Fauna (CITES), granted at South Africa in October last year, for housing global tiger repository.