Categories: tiger

Apparently India can’t count tiger numbers accurately

A little over a month ago I wrote an article about tiger numbers in India being 30% up. This was world-wide, good news. It gave hope that there was a chance that the Bengal tiger could escape extinction in the wild.

Counting tigers (and any of the wild cat species) in the wild has been notoriously inaccurate in the past. Camera traps are more accurate and they were used when coming to the conclusion that tiger numbers were up.

An article in the India Times tells us that it is too early to celebrate the good news because the new data may be incorrect as a result of a measuring error.

I have to say that this does not in anyway surprise me. Not only is counting tigers difficult but there is political pressure to demonstrate that India is successfully conserving the tiger after years of apparent failure.

A method called “the Index Calibration model” was used. It is based on counting numbers in a region and then using a computer model to extrapolate nationwide numbers. It has been shown to be inconsistent and unreliable.

“….We are not at all disputing that tigers numbers have increased in many locations in India in last eight years, but the method employed to measure this increase is not sufficiently robust or accurate to measure changes at regional and country wide levels” (Dr Ullas Karanth, a co-author from the Wildlife Conservation Society).

And from Arjun Gopalaswamy, the lead author of the report from the Wildlife Conservation Research unit at Oxford University’s Dept of Zoology:

“…Our study shows that index-calibration models are so fragile that even a 10% uncertainty in detection rates severely compromises what we can reliably infer from them….”

The truth is that the pubic should always take with a pinch of salt any published national wildlife population figures. I am yet to see accurate numbers from any source. There is a lot of guesswork involved. Counting tigers continues to challenge the human as does counting the number of birds killed by feral and domestic cats in America.

The more likely scenario is a reduction on tiger numbers because there is a constant increase in human activity in India. Human activity forces out the tiger.

Source.

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

Recent Posts

Can a lynx kill a healthy adult human?

This is one of those debatable questions because as there are no records of lynx…

2 hours ago

People don’t want animals to be able to use language to communicate

The reason why people don't want animals to be able to communicate using language is…

6 hours ago

America’s Food And Drug Administration (FDA) allow their laboratory animals to be adopted

NEWS AND OPINION: In a change of policy, animals that the FDA has used for…

9 hours ago

Statewide declaw ban is government overreach?

Michigan state is debating a ban on declawing. If the legislation is passed Michigan would…

9 hours ago

Top ten cat breeds CFA 2019

This is the current ranking of the most popular cat breeds recognised by the Cat…

23 hours ago

Mystery cat picture. What is it?

It took me a little while to figure what was happening in this photograph. The…

1 day ago