JavaScript must be enabled in order for you to use the Site in standard view. However, it seems JavaScript is either disabled or not supported by your browser. To use standard view, enable JavaScript by changing your browser options.

| Last Updated:06/07/2020

Latest News


Camera-trapping survey captures 141 tiger images in state's protected areas

The Times of India, Pune, 4th May, 2013

PUNE: The state forest department has captured images of more than 141 fully grown tigers in Maharashtra's four tiger reserves and their surrounding areas. The 'camera-trapping survey' that is going on across protected areas in the country to estimate the number of tigers is now its fourth phase and officials in the state said they have carried it out in the tiger reserves of Tadoba- Andhari, Melghat, Sahyadri and Pench.

In 2012, about 155 tigers had been captured during the camera-trapping survey, said S W H Naqvi, principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife). He said that the final figure was yet to be known as the survey was still on.

Images of the tigers in Maharashtra, collected by teams headed by the field directors of each reserve, will soon be collated in the countrywide database, National Repository of Camera Trap Photographs of Tigers (NRCTPT). The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had started this project to assign Unique Tiger IdentiשּׁĀcation (UTID) number to a large sample of tigers. The NTCA has called a national-level review meeting for the same on May 27 in New Delhi.

KP Singh, field director in-charge of Melghat Tiger Reserve, said there are at least 29 to 35 tigers in his reserve. "We have managed to capture some very clear images in the recently-concluded camera trap survey. We will now analyse all the data to arrive at a more exact figure," he said. He pointed out that they had to make use of additional methods such as line-transect surveys and light sensors as there was a shortage of cameras. "While about 400 pairs of camera traps were needed for the four reserves, we had only 150 camera pairs in the beginning. Around 130 pairs have been procured now, which will hopefully help achieve greater accuracy," he said.

Virendra Tiwari, in charge at Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, said there were a minimum of 43 tigers in the core reserve area and another 22 in the reserve's buffer zones. "The census only accounts for the fully grown tigers and not cubs, so the figure could be even bigger in the coming months," he said.

"The UTID numbers, which will be allocated with the help of images captured by camera trappings, will help to not only track the big cat's behaviour and movement, but also check on poaching activities," said MS Reddy, in-charge of the tiger reserve at Pench, which is estimated to have 19 tigers.

The Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is home to at least five or seven tigers, estimates its in-charge Mohan Karnad, who points out that the number could be as high as 21 in the complete Sahyadri belt which stretches from Pune to Goa. "Sighting a tiger is very difficult, owing to the difficult landscape and terrain," he said.

The last tiger census in 2010 had found 169 tigers in Maharashtra, a figure Naqvi feels has increased since the last three years. "The entire camera trapping process, which is photographic data of the tigers, will be completed by year-end. Since many areas could so far not be covered due to shortage of cameras, it would be incorrect to draw any conclusions on the total number of tigers in the state," Naqvi says.

The initiative to establish the UTID database was taken in 2011 after a series of consultations with leading tiger researchers in India. The pattern-matching software which speeds up individual identification from stripe-patterns on tigers, coupled with assistance from WCS scientists is expected to provide a reliable platform for the formation of the national database.