Corbett has India’s largest tiger population among 50 reserves: report

Wildlife experts say good prey base is the major factor for thriving of big cats in Corbett Tiger Reserve.
Corrbett Tiger Reserve also has the highest density of the big cats.(HT PHOTO)
Corrbett Tiger Reserve also has the highest density of the big cats.(HT PHOTO)
Published on Jul 28, 2020 06:41 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Dehradun | ByNeeraj Santoshi| Edited by Sabir Hussain

Uttarakhand’s Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) has reported the highest tiger density among India’s 50 reserves with 14 tigers per 100 sq km, followed by Kaziranga, Nagarhole and Orang tiger reserves, according to the 656-page report ‘Status of Tigers Co-predators and Prey in India’, released by Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday on the eve of Global Tiger Day.

According to the report, CTR has the highest tiger numbers with 231 inside the reserve and 266 using the reserve. CTR is followed by Nagarhole tiger reserve in Karnataka with 127 tigers, Bandipur Tiger Reserve (Karnataka) with 126 tigers and Bandhavgarh and Kaziranga tiger reserves with 104 tigers each.

On Corbett Tiger Reserve, the report states, “A total of 5,004 tiger images were obtained from which 231 tigers were identified with tiger density estimated at 14 tigers per 100 km. Tiger population using the tiger reserve was 266, while the number of tigers present only in the tiger reserve were 231.”

Dhananjai Mohan, Director Wildlife Institute of India (WII) said Corbett Tiger Reserve has maintained its top spot when it comes to tiger population among all the 50 tiger reserves in the country. “Last time in 2014 also, Corbett had recorded the highest tiger population for any tiger reserve in the country,” he said.

According to the 2014 tiger census, Uttarakhand had 340 tigers including 215 in Corbett and 16 in Rajaji Tiger Reserves.

On reasons for Corbett recording such a high number of tigers, senior scientist at WII Qamar Qureshi said that for a good tiger population you need a good prey base. “In the survey of the prey base in Corbett, we not only found it was good and one of the best in the country, it was also evenly distributed across the Corbett landscape. This has sustained a good population of tigers in Corbett”, he said

According to the latest report, Corbett has a total of 32 species of ungulates, carnivores, omnivores, with chital, sambar and barking deer the most common species

The tiger population inside the Rajaji tiger reserve is 38 while the number of tigers using the reserve is 52, says the report. Rajaji Tiger Reserve is spread over three districts including Haridwar, Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal over an area of nearly 1,150 sq km

There are 442 tigers in Uttarakhand according to All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018 released by PM Narendra Modi in July last year in July. The tiger population in the Himalayan state has risen from 178 in 2006, 227 in 2010, 340 in 2014 and 442 in 2018.

Parag Madhukar Dhakate, chief conservator of forests (CCF) Uttarakhand said a small Himalayan state recording such good tiger numbers, especially in Corbett is primarily due to good forest cover that harbours good prey base and focus on better conservation and protection strategies.

“The combination of these factors has led to the thriving of tigers and their highest density tiger in the country”, he said.

NTCA in collaboration with state forest departments, NGOs and coordinated by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), conducts national assessment for the ‘Status of Tigers, Co-predators, Prey and their Habitat’ every four years since 2006.

The latest report assesses the status of tigers in terms of spatial occupancy and the density of individual populations across India. The report compares information obtained from the earlier three tiger censuses (2006, 2010, and 2014) with data obtained from the 2018 tiger census to estimate population trends at the country and landscape level.

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