Common survey to count elephants and tigers

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Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

On World Elephant Day, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has announced that population estimation of elephants and tigers will be done together in 2022.

What is the present practice? Currently, the Tiger and Elephant Census are conducted separately: 

All India Tiger Census:
  1. The All India Tiger Census is usually held once in Four Years.
  2. Conducted by: National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in collaboration with the State Forest Departments, Conservation NGOs and coordinated by the Wildlife Institute of India(WII).
  3. Method: The tigers are counted based on sightings in camera traps and indirect estimation methods.
  4. According to the most recent 2018-19 survey, there were 2,997 tigers in India.
Elephant Census:
  1. The Elephant Census is conducted once in five years.
  2. Method: It largely relies on States directly counting the number of elephants. In recent years, techniques such as analysing dung samples have also been deployed to estimate birth rates and population trends in elephants.
  3. According to the last count in 2017, there were 29,964 elephants in India.

Why is the Tiger and Elephant Census being conducted together in 2022? It is being conducted together because:

  1. Firstly. To improve and harmonize the population estimation methods along more scientific lines in various states across India.
  2. Secondly, 90% of the area occupied by elephants and tigers is common. Hence, having a common survey can significantly save costs.

Asian Elephants:

  1. IUCN Red List: Endangered 
  2. CITES: Appendix I.
  3. Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I.

Note: More than 60% of the world’s elephant population is in India

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