Tiger Population Still Struggling Despite Rise
The All India Tiger Estimation puts the total figure at 1,706. Whilst this is promising, environmentalists are still concerned about the declining size of the habitat tigers occupy. In 2006, India’s tigers roamed around 93,600 square km – last year that figure stood at 72,800 square km.
"There is a decrease in tiger occupancy, which shows that tiger corridors are under biggest threat. The threat from poachers, international smuggling networks and powerful mining companies continue to pose threat to the endangered animal," said Jairam Ramesh, the Environment Minister.
"There is a need for 9% economic growth and there is no dispute in that, but we have to reconcile growth with environment. We have to find a way to reconcile the growing appetite for energy with the imperative to protect our forests. Can we afford a 9% growth which means losing our forests? Choices have to be made,” continued Ramesh.
Even though the figures look encouraging, it may be down to the fact that certain areas were not sampled back in 2006. New areas in Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and Assam were covered in the 2010 census.
A wildlife researcher commented on this saying: "Thirteen areas sampled this year had not been sampled in 2006. And they account for 288 tigers of the incremental 295 tigers. In that sense, there is no significant increase.”
The tiger estimation project consisted of three phases. The first was the collection of field data that included a lot of habitual signs. Pug marks, scratch marks and prey signs that helped to assess the presence of big cats were collected by officials that walked at least 15 to 20 km a day.
Phase two involved analysing the tiger’s habitat status using satellite data. The final phase saw cameras installed strategically that informed officials about the presence of tigers. Those that were captured on camera could be indentified with their unique stripes.
Even though people like Ravi Chellam, Wildlife Conservation Society’s India Programs country director and K Ullas Karanth, a noted tiger expert, questioned the accuracy of the methodology taken, it’s still apparent that a lot needs to be done in order to continue the life span of these majestic animals. Equally as important, is protecting their natural habitat.
Our approach is a sensible one, appreciating the high demand for timber and the fact that the timber trade will continue. Therefore we have an opportunity to participate and make sure that any negative impact to the surrounding environment and community is minimised and that good management secures the future of the forests.
GFI believe that investments in overseas forestry will bring diversity, growth and stability to any investment portfolio – especially in the currently unstable economic climate, whilst creating the added tax and green benefits associated with most ethical investments.
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