India’s tiger population up 30%, new report finds

Over 2,000 of the big cats found in India, more than half the world’s tigers

 

The number of tigers in India has risen dramatically in less than a decade, an official report has revealed.

The estimated population of the endangered big cat has increased from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,226 in 2014, according to the report published by the Indian government’s National Tiger Conservation Authority.

Tigers are threatened by poaching for body parts which are in high demand throughout Asia, as well as pressure on their habitat.

The improvement in the cat’s fortunes in India is being attributed to better management and improved protection in tiger reserves and other protected areas.

Prakash Javadekar, Indian minister for environment and forests, said: “At a time when the global tiger population is under threat, it is heartening that India’s tiger numbers are increasing.

“This was not the situation a decade ago and I am proud that we have risen to the challenge and turned the situation around.”

Conservationists hailed the report, which they said showed that even in a densely populated and economically expanding area such as Asia, ambitious targets for boosting species can be achieved.

WWF-India’s chief executive Ravi Singh said the survey “demonstrates that species conservation works, especially when it brings together political will, strong science and dedicated field efforts”.

The report confirmed more than half the world’s tigers are in India.

Since 2010, the 13 countries where the tiger is found have pledged to double the global numbers of the animal in 12 years in an initiative known as Tx2.

Tiger numbers in India have increased from an estimated 1,706 in 2010.

The census of tigers in India in 2014 was the largest and most thorough undertaken, covering 18 states and surveying more than 300,000sq km both inside and outside tiger reserves.

This year, Russia will carry out a full range survey for the Amur tiger, while surveys are also expected from Bangladesh, China, Nepal and Bhutan.

But conservationists say comprehensive assessments are urgently needed in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

PA