Tiger Population Increases In India, Black Melanistic Tigers Found Only In Odisha’s Similipal

Bhubaneswar: Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday released the Tiger Census report and revealed that India is home to 70 per cent of the world’s tiger population.

The Minister further said that India was ready to work with all 13 tiger range countries in their actual management of tiger reserves. “At the international level, we have a lot of soft powers, but one soft power is that the country has animals. India has 30,000 elephants, 3,000 one-horned rhinos and more than 500 lions,” he added.

The event was held on the occasion of Global Tiger Day celebrated every year on July 29 following the Saint Petersburg declaration on tiger conservation signed in 2010.

According to the India Tiger Census 2018, the tiger population in India had grown from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 tigers in 2018.

However, Odisha’s Satkosia and Simlipal saw no rise in the tiger population during this period and the number remained constant at 28. As many as 141 camera traps were set up in Simlipal and 4,400 trap nights were spent in capturing tiger photographs. However, only eight tigers were recorded through these means, though 12 were found inside this reserve using other data. The good news is that melanistic black tigers in the world were found only in Simlipal.

On the other hand, only one tiger is left in Satkosia Tiger Reserve. Two were relocated to the forest reserve in 2018 under India’s first inter-state tiger relocation project. However, one of them was reportedly killed by poachers while the other has been caged due to conflicts with villagers.

Wildlife expert Biswajit Mohanty questioned about the new cubs who are older than one year now. Tiger cubs younger than one year are not counted in the census as their survival is uncertain. He felt that Odisha could have added 12-15 tigers in these 4 years. He blamed rampant poaching for zero growth.

Madhya Pradesh saw the biggest growth of 71 per cent. The number has risen from 308 tigers to 526 tigers in 2018.

Chattisgarh and Mizoram have reported a decline in tiger numbers.

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