Some Tiger Economies to Follow India’s `Tiger Census’ Method

Zone 7 Togress Ranthambore; Photo by M. Karthikeyan

India’s method of estimating tiger population could be adopted by five Southeast Asian nations, if a proposal of the Global Tiger Forum (GTF) goes through, according to a report by The Hindustan Times.

Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar are the five countries identified by GTF for replicating India’s methodology, which will introduced during a workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in November. Malaysia and Indonesia are incidentally referred to as Tiger economies, a nickname they derived after witnessing an investment boom between late 1980s and mid-1990s. 

The GTF, formed in 1994, is the world’s only intergovernmental organisation dedicated to tiger conservation, the Hindustan Times reports. The GTF membership includes seven tiger range countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal and Vietnam.

Crouching Tiger. Ranthambore National Park, India; Photo by M. Karthikeyan

Administrative officer of the forum GS Lam said, “A robust methodology is needed to estimate global tiger population. For this, we will advocate estimation method followed by India before the five participating countries.”

In India, the rigorous estimation is carried out every four years by Dehradun based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) with the help of non government organizations.

The global estimation of tigers in 2016 is 3900, a slight increase from 3200 in 2010.

Countries like Bhutan and Nepal are already following the similar “robust pattern” of estimation. It is currently doing camera trapping and has trained most of its staff to conduct the exercise. “Camera trapping and other intensive methods that have been adopted here are followed in Nepal. The country has got good results by following the process,” Bivash Pandav, a scientist at WII who has worked with Nepal forest department from 2007-2012, said.

Senior tiger expert at WII, Qamar Qureshi said, “Countries try to keep away from this kind of estimation as it does not necessarily come out with big figures. Once this jinx is broken, they would understand value of this process in counting tigers and thereby protecting the species.”