Tiger numbers in India have doubled since 2006, but their uneven distribution countrywide doesn't spell success
The report brings out the shrinking presence of tigers outside tiger reserves in the country and calls for sustainable approach to tiger conservation.
Since the year 2006, when tiger numbers were at their lowest since mankind starting paying attention to their numbers, the government carries out a tiger counting, or census, every four years. The census, which spanned 15 months in 2018-19, is coordinated by an Environment Ministry-funded body, the Wildlife Institute of India. The tiger count in India has doubled in 2006, when India was home to just 1,411 tigers in the wild. This rose to 1,706 in 2010 and 2,226 in 2014 on the back of improved conservation measures and new methods to make better estimates.
The Status of Tigers in India Report—2018 finds that Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers (526), closely followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442). With the exception of Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, the tiger population in all other states have increased positively. The occupancy of tigers in India has changed significantly from the 88,000-89,000 sq km pattern observed in earlier counts. Tigers have retreated to dominion over 40,000 sq km since the year 2014. This significant drop in tiger-occupied areas (by 17,881 sq km or 20 percent of the total tiger habitat in India) in just four years is a big concern to experts. It explains the shrinking presence of tigers outside tiger reserves in the country, and calls for a sustainable approach to tiger conservation with due consideration to this new challenge.