India now accounts 70 percent of the world's total population of tigers, the environment ministry said on Tuesday while releasing its fourth detailed national tiger estimation report.
"Despite India's constraint of 2.5 percent of global land, four per cent of rainfall and 16 percent of world's human population, India is home to eight percent of world's biodiversity which includes 70 percent of world's tiger population," said Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar in Delhi, after releasing the detailed Status of Tigers Co-predators and Prey in India 2018.
Released ahead of International Tiger Day that is observed every year on 29 July, the report assesses the status of tigers in terms of spatial occupancy and density of individual populations across India.
According to the report on the condition of all 50 tiger reserves, Madhya Pradesh has the maximum number of tigers followed by Karnataka.
The minister also said that India has achieved the feat in not just tiger conservation but other species too.
"Today, India not only has tigers, but 30,000 elephants, 3,000 one-horned rhinoceros and over 500 lions besides variety of other flora and fauna," he said.
The report compares information obtained from tiger surveys of 2006, 2010 and 2014 with data obtained from the 2018-19 review to estimate population trends at country and landscape scales, patch colonisation and extinction rates. It also highlights information on likely factors responsible for changes in tiger status.
The report also evaluates the status of habitat corridors that connect major tiger populations while highlighting vulnerable areas that require conservation.
The detailed report in unique in the way that it includes an abundance index of co-predators and other species, sex ratio of tigers carried out by camera traps for the first time and elaborate details in anthropogenic effects on tiger population.
The report, for the first time, also includes details on tiger abundance within pockets in tiger reserves.
According news agency ANI, speaking at a function in New Delhi, Javadekar said that India is proud of its tiger assets while also expressing the willingness to work with other tiger range countries.
"We are ready to take leadership role and work with all 12 tiger range countries in their training, capacity building and in actual management of tiger reserves," he said, according to PTI.
There are currently 13 tiger range countries " India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.
In 2010, with tiger numbers at an all time low, India along with other tiger range countries had committed to doubling the number of wild tigers at the St Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation.
According to the 2018 Tiger Census, the tiger population in India at the time of the St Petersburg Summit was 1,706. The number of tigers in India is estiamted to have increased to 2,967 as per the 2108 Census, up from the 2,226 tigers estimated in the 2014 census, the BBC reported.
India counts its tigers once in four years with forest officials and scientists trekking across half a million square kilometres looking for evidence of the elusive feline. The status report released today is bases on surveys conducted since 2006.
According to an All India Radio report, Javadekar said that India had just nine tiger reserves in 1973. However, the number has increased to 50, the minsiter said, adding that none of the 50 tiger reserves in the country are of poor quality, accordign to Times Now.
With inputs from PTI