The first phase of tiger census covering around 3.5 lakh sq km of forest area, including non-tiger reserve tracts at the beat level is over, throwing up encouraging trends, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said today.
"Encouraging" trends have emerged from the ongoing tiger census, an extensive exercise that started last year
across the states, Ramesh told reporters.
"I am saying on the basis of the census trend which are positive and based on information. In Kaziranga tiger
reserve, according to preliminary estimates, the tiger density is estimated at 30 per hundred sq km, much higher than in the Corbett where 24 tigers per hundred sq km has been reported," he added.
Similarly, good presence of tigers has been reported from Buxa tiger reserve from North Bengal, Nagarjuna Sagar
tiger reserve, Indiravati tiger reserve which had earlier been written off, the minister said.
"In Balmiki tiger reserve in Bihar too unexpectedly good results are being reported," he said, adding, special
efforts were being taken to conduct census in the Sunderbans in West Bengal which has sea-based eco-system.
However, the Minister was quick to add that "encouraging" results did not indicate that the tiger counts
this time will be higher than the last census which had put the number of tigers in the country at around 1,411.
"No doubt the trend is positive, but I can't say that this means increase in tiger number this census. But amidst
tiger crisis the positive trend is certainly very encouraging to us," he added.
The tiger counting in the country's 39 reserves will be completed by November-end, Ramesh said.
The phase I data would be made available to the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in a
customized digital format for carrying out camera trap sessions and distance sampling as part of the phase-III
process involving research team, he said.
Regarding areas prone to left-wing extremism, Ramesh said that "scat collection would be done to ascertain the
minimum population size through DNA analysis."