In India, a massive survey holds good news for tigers

Tiger paw print in sandy soil

Number of tigers recorded in India’s latest survey

India launched Project Tiger in 1973, setting an ambitious tiger conservation goal. Fifty years later, in July 2023, India announced that its latest survey had recorded an estimated minimum of 3,682 tigers. The 2022 survey, which scoured nearly 94 million acres and assessed thousands of camera trap images, found 619 more tigers than the last census in 2018 and more than double the tigers in 2006.

Key to this growth, says WWF-India tiger conservation lead Pranav Chanchani, has been strong government support for India’s 53 tiger reserves—up from nine in the ’70s. In many of these sites, WWF works with state forest departments, the National Tiger Conservation Authority, and other partners to monitor the big cats and their prey, reconnect tiger corridors, and increase protection measures.

Perhaps most important, WWF manages human-wildlife conflict by assisting in tiger rescues from high-conflict areas and facilitating relief programs that compensate people for lost livestock. To keep tiger numbers rising, “we must ensure that people sharing space with them are not left with huge costs, and that conservation also serves people,” says Chanchani. “If a country of 1.4 billion people can successfully conserve tigers, it shows human-wildlife coexistence is possible.”

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