Endangered Species and Tiger Conservation in Rajasthan: A 115% Increase in Population
With a 115% increase in population in the last 12 years, Rajasthan is taking massive strides towards conservation and preservation of endangered species, and it all started with the ‘Status of Tigers in India-2018’ report, which was released on Monday by PM Narendra Modi.
Ranthambore, Sariska, and Mukundra Hills: Rajasthan Tiger Reserves
Rajasthan has three tiger reserves — Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in Sawai Madhopur, Sariska Tiger Reserve (Alwar) and Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve (Kota). Ranthambore has the highest concentration of tigers in Rajasthan, with the population of tigers estimated at 69, compared to 45 in the year 2014 and 32 in the 2006 estimation.
International Tiger Day and Celebrations
International Tiger Day has been held on July 29 every year since 2010, to raise awareness about the decline of tiger numbers and encourage the celebration of the big cat conservation. India now has 2,967 tigers, a 33% increase from 2014 to 2018, according to the All India Tiger Estimation Results.
Other Tiger-Inhabited States and the Central India Landscape
Of the 20 tiger-inhabited states in the country, Rajasthan stands ninth in population after Madhya Pradesh (526), Karnataka (524), Uttarakhand (442), Maharashtra (312), Tamil Nadu (264), Kerala (190), Assam (190) and Uttar Pradesh (173). In the Central India landscape and Eastern Ghats, covering eight states (Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Odisha), Rajasthan remains at third place, with 69 tigers after Madhya Pradesh (321) and Maharashtra (312).
The Most Accurate Tiger Estimation
The report, prepared by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), states that the fourth cycle of the national tiger status assessment of 2018-19 is the most accurate survey conducted. The survey covered 381,400 km of forested habitats in 20 tiger-occupied states of India. On the estimated tiger count of 2,967, 83% were actually camera trapped individual tigers; 87% of the big cat numbers were accounted for by camera trap-based capture-mark-recapture and remaining 13% estimated through covariate-based models.
The Rise of Conservation and Tiger Protection
The rise in tiger population is observed in areas with good management inputs, complementing conservation efforts. Rajasthan forest minister Sukhram Vishnoi expressed the state’s commitment to protecting the wildlife, specifically endangered species. Former IFS officer Sunayan Sharma acknowledged tiger conservation progress in Rajasthan but believes it has not been up to the expected levels. He suggested village relocation, protection of buffer zones, management of conflict, and economic incentives as part of the sustainable conservation model.
Introducing Tigers in New Reserves
In order to avoid human-wildlife conflict, relocating excess tigers and increasing the carrying capacity of reserves, the Rajasthan forest department is looking to develop more habitats for big cats. There have been plans to introduce tigers in Ramgarh Vishdhari, Shergarh, Kumbhalgarh, Rawli Toadgarh, Jhiri in Dholpur, Khetri Bansiyal in Jhunjhunu, Sultanpur in Bundi and Shahbad in Baran. Feasibilities are being examined.
Conclusion: Rajasthan Fights to Preserve and Increase Its Tiger Population
Rajasthan proves to be one of the leading states in India when it comes to taking steps to protect tigers, evident by the 115% increase in their population in the last 12 years. With International Tiger Day celebrations, management of territories and reserves, and protection of the habitats, they are on their way to achieving their goal.