Joint count of elephant and big cats
- For the first time this year presents a unified count of the tiger, leopard and elephant populations of the country.
- The tiger survey is usually held once in four years and elephants are counted once in five years.
- According to the most recent 2018-19 survey, there are 2,967 tigers in India. According to the last count in 2017, there are 29,964 elephants.
- Elephant numbers would be estimated by States based on DNA analysis of their dung droppings and statistical techniques.
- Tigers are counted by deploying camera traps, identifying individuals based on stripes, as well as statistical analysis.
- Tiger scat and its DNA analysis is usually used only when camera traps are impractical to deploy.
- Since elephants number more than tigers and are hard to tell apart from camera-trap images alone, it is more economical and feasible to use their dung for identification.
- The ‘head count’ method, or one currently deployed to count elephants, was “obsolete” and frequently led to double-counting.
- Resources, time and energy will be saved from having a common estimate.
- This is the first time that a robust scientific method based on statistical techniques will be implemented.
Prelim Take Away
- Project Tiger
- Project elephant
- Major Elephant corridors