The Prime Minister of India has released the figures of the 5th cycle of India’s Tiger Census 2022, revealing 6.7% in the increase in the past four years.

  • The tiger census covered forested habitats in 20 states of India. Camera traps were set up at 32,588 locations and generated 47,081,881 photographs.
  • The PM has released the Census while inaugurating the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) in Karnataka’s Mysuru, organised to mark 50 years of Project Tiger.

Highlights of the Census

  • Population:
    • Population has grown by 200 from 2018 to 2022. The current tiger population in India is 3,167, up from 2,967 in 2018.
  • Growth Rate:
    • The growth rate slowed to 6.7% in the four years from 2018 to 2022, from around 33% during 2014-2018.
  • Increase:
    • There has been a significant increase in the tiger population in the Shivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains, while tiger occupancy in Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana showed a decline.
    • The North East Hills and Brahmaputra Plains had 194 tigers captured by camera traps, and the region’s Nilgiri cluster is the largest tiger population in the world, contributing significantly to colonisation of tigers in neighbouring areas.
  • Decline:
    • Tiger occupancy in the Western Ghats declined, the latest analysis showed. Significant declines were observed in the Wayanad landscape and in the Biligiriranga Hills.
    • Decline in tiger occupancy was also observed outside the protected areas of Anamalai-Parambikulam complex.
      • Although the tiger populations in the Periyar landscape remained stable, the tiger occupancy has declined outside Periyar.
  • High Conservation Priority:
    • The genetically unique and small population of tigers in Simlipal is also highlighted as being of high conservation priority.
    • The report calls for ecologically viable economic development and trans-boundary tiger conservation strategies to sustain isolated populations.
  • The wildlife habitats (Protected Areas and corridors) within this region (Central Indian highlands and Eastern Ghats) face a range of threats, including habitat encroachment, illegal hunting of both tigers and their prey, conflicts between humans and wildlife, unregulated and illicit cattle grazing, excessive harvesting of non-timber forest produce, human induced forest fires, mining, and ever-expanding linear infrastructure. This region is also having several mines of important minerals, hence mitigation measures like lower mining impact techniques and rehabilitation of mining sites should be done on priority.
Tiger Census 2022
Top 10 states with the highest population of Tigers in India (2018)
StateNumber of tigers
Madhya Pradesh526
Tamil Nadu264
Uttar Pradesh173
West Bengal88

What is the IBCA?

  • International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) is launched for conservation of seven big cats namely Tiger, Lion, Snow Leopard, Leopard, Cheetah, Jaguar and Puma harbouring our planet.
  • Its members include 97 countries that are home to these big cats and other interested parties.
  • The IBCA will engage in advocacy, partnerships, capacity building, eco-tourism, and finance tapping.
  • It will also disseminate information and create awareness among its members.

Tiger Census

  • The national tiger census is conducted once every four years.
  • The Nation-wide tiger census was earlier held in 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA) conducts tiger censuses in partnership with state forest departments, conservation NGOs, and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
  • Census methodology
    • Double sampling based on ground-based surveys and actual imagescaptured on camera-traps.
    • Double sampling method was introduced in 2006 after the “pugmark” surveys were found to be inaccurate.
    • In 2018 census, 83% of the big cats censused were individually photographed using camera traps.
    • In Phases 1 & 2, ground-based surveys were carried out by Forest Department officials to collect signs of tiger presence like scat and pugmarks.
    • In phase 3,the information was plotted on the forest map prepared with remote-sensing and GIS (MSTrIPES).
    • In the last phase, data were extrapolated to areas where cameras could not be deployed.

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