Efforts in India
A Bengal tiger roams around in Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan, India. Because of dwindling tiger numbers, the Indiangovernment has pledged US$153 million to further fund the Project Tiger initiative, set-up a Tiger Protection Force to combat poachers, and fund the relocation of up to 200,000 villagers to minimizehuman-tiger interaction.
The Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 enables government agencies to take strict measures so as to ensure the conservation of the Bengal tigers. The Wildlife Institute of Indiaestimates showed that tiger numbers had fallen in Madhya Pradesh by 61%, Maharashtra by 57%, and Rajasthan by 40%. The government's first tiger census, conducted under the Project Tiger initiativebegun in 1973, counted 1,827 tigers in the country that year. Using that methodology, the government observed a steady population increase, reaching 3,700 tigers in 2002. However, the use of morereliable and independent censusing technology (including camera traps) for the 2007-2008 all-India census has shown that the numbers were in fact less than half than originally claimed by the ForestDepartment
Tiger scientists in India, such as Raghu Chundawat and Ullas Karanth, have faced a lot of criticism from the forest department. Both these scientists have been for years calling for use oftechnology in the conservation efforts. For instance, Raghu, in the past, had been involved with radio telemetry (collaring the tigers). Ullas has been instrumental in using camera traps. The project to mapall the forest reserves in India has not been completed yet, though the Ministry of Environment and Forests had sanctioned Rs. 13 million for the same in March 2004.
A recent article written byShashwat DC and published in the Dataquest Magazine talks about the issue in complete detail . In the story, noted wildlife expert George Schaller was quoted as saying:
"India has to decide whether...