DEHRADUN: Hear the roars? There are 3,682 tigers now in India, up from 2,967 in 2018 — a rise of almost 24% in four years. The numbers are also up from the 3,167 tigers announced by PM Narendra Modi in Mysuru on April 9 at a programme to commemorate 50 years of Project Tiger, a conservation effort applauded across the world.
The revised figures follow detailed analyses of census data collected during the fifth cycle of estimation conducted in 2022. With this, India is now home to approximately 75% of the world’s tiger population.
The latest tiger numbers are mentioned in the “Status of Tigers: Co-Predators & Prey in India-2022” report released at Uttarakhand’s Corbett Tiger Reserve by Union minister of state for environment, forest and climate change Ashwini Kumar Choubey on the occasion of International Tiger Day on Saturday.
Among the 53 tiger reserves in India, Corbett is the leader with 260 big cats. Among the states, Madhya Pradesh retained the No. 1 spot. Its tiger population has jumped from 526 to 785 (49%).
MP, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand see maximum rise in tiger numbers
Madhya Pradesh, the state that boasts the most tigers (785) in India, has widened its gap with second-placed Karnataka, which had two less in the 2018 census. Now, with a small leap of 7.4%, Karnataka has 563 tigers.
Uttarakhand stands third with 26.7% growth – 560 big cats now, up from 442 in 2018. Maharashtra has 444 big cats, up from 312 in 2018, a rise of 29%. The count in Tamil Nadu, Assam and Kerala stood at 306, 227 and 213, respectively. Uttar Pradesh, too, saw a rise of 32 tigers with 205 in 2022, up from 173 in 2018, and is placed at No. 8.
Explaining the the jump in numbers from the announcement made in April, Wildlife Institute of India director VK Tiwari said “3,167 is the minimum count as per photographs of tigers while 3,682 is the population estimate arrived at by us after extrapolation of all data, including pictures, pug marks and other sign indicators like scat. Overall, there is an upward trend in the tiger count across the country.”
The maximum increase in tiger numbers was in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand – 259, 132 and 118, respectively.
Lauding the states’ efforts, the minister said, “We’ve embarked upon a journey of holistic conservation of the ecosystem through saving tigers and their habitats. This is a phenomenal achievement.”
There were a few areas of concern as well.
States like Telangana saw a decline from 26 to 21. Chhattisgarh saw numbers falling from 19 to 17. Jharkhand reported just one from five while Odisha also saw a drop from 28 to 20. In Arunachal Pradesh as well, the number was down to nine from 29.
At the time of the Mysuru programme, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) released the presence of tiger numbers in various landscapes. This, too, has been revised.
The landscape-wise report indicated that the maximum tigers were in the Central Indian Landscape and Eastern Ghats (1,439), followed by the Western Ghats Landscape (1,087), Shivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains (819), North East Hills and Brahmaputra Plains Landscape (236), and the Sunderbans (101).
Following Corbett in the ranking of individual reserves is Bandipur and Nagarhole with 150 and 141 tigers. Bandhavgarh and Dudhwa are at 4th place with 135. Among the others that have logged a hundred are Mudumalai (114), Kanha (105), Kaziranga (104) and Sundarbans (100). The popular Tadoba in Maharashtra is at No. 9 with 97 tigers.
The tiger population estimate report is usually published after a gap of four years in the country by the NTCA and Wildlife Institute of India with support from respective state forest departments.