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Tiger census: New mechanism evolved

Project Tiger officials are using a mix of the world's most modern and scientific methodologies to get an exact number.

india Updated: Aug 25, 2006 21:08 IST

In a bid to quell the controversy over the number of tigers in the country, wildlife scientists have evolved a new and more scientific mechanism for a census of the big cat and come out with their near exact number by December next year.

About 88,000 personnel are involved in the world's most massive exercise to ascertain the near exact number of tigers in the country, YV Jhala, scientist with the Wildlife Institute of India said on Friday.

He said Project Tiger authorities were using a mix of the world's most modern and scientific methodologies to arrive at near exact number of tigers.

The new technique uses extensive sampling of the tiger habitat at the beat level using the data with satellite maps of the area to ascertain the spread of tigers and research and review of data by wildlife scientists.

It includes peer review by international experts and has audit mechanisms at every level, he said.

The earlier mechanism to count tigers used the pugmarks of the animal for the census, Jhala said adding peer review was not possible in the process.

Jhala said the Project Tiger authorities have almost completed the data collection for its phase one and two and its report will come out by December this year.

While the work of collecting data for phase three is on, the final report will be complete by December next year.

He said wildlife scientists also plan to use DNA profiling of the tigers in the census.