• 14 June 2024

Saving Big Cats! Has India been able to save the Endangered Tigers

Aug 10, 2023

Nearly 3,000 tigers that now roam India’s forests show the mighty cat has been saved from extinction.

Project Tiger

50 years ago, India’s tiger numbers plummeted from thousands to 1,800 due to hunting and habitat loss. India launched Project Tiger in 1973, designating tigers as national animals, establishing protected areas, and banning hunting. The project revived the tiger population to nearly 3,000, despite challenges. Conservationists remain cautious due to the species’ endangered status. Furthermore, as India commemorates Project Tiger’s 50th anniversary, experts underscore the need to tackle evolving challenges such as habitat loss and human-tiger coexistence. Additionally, a global emblem of effective wildlife conservation, Project Tiger remains resilient amid emerging preservation frontiers.

Number of Tigers in India

Key Stats and Figures

  1. Project Tiger Initiation (1973):
    • Aim: To protect tigers from extinction and preserve areas of biological importance to the tiger.
    • Initially covered 9 tiger reserves spanning 18,278 km².
  2. Current Tiger Reserves (2023):
    • Number: 53 tiger reserves.
    • Total Area: 75,796 km² (2.3% of India’s total land area).
  3. Tiger Population in India (2023 Census):
    • Total Population: 3,167 tigers.
    • Increase from 2018 to 2022: 6.7%.
    • Growth Rate (2018-2022): Slower compared to 33% during 2014-2018.
  4. Tiger Occupied Regions:
    • Central Indian and Eastern Ghats: 1,161 tigers.
    • Western Ghats: 824 tigers.
    • Sundarban Area: 184 tigers.
    • Northeastern area and Brahmaputra flood landscape: 194 tigers.
    • Shivalik Gangetic landscape: 804 tigers.
  5. Tiger Census History:
    • First Census (2006): 1,411 tigers.
    • Second Census (2010): 1,706 tigers.
    • Third Census (2014): 2,226 tigers.
    • Fourth Census (2018): 2,967 tigers.
  6. Tiger Census Methodology (2022):
    • Camera-trapped areas: Tiger population estimate of 3,167.
    • Further analysis from non-camera-trapped areas: Upper limit of 3,925 and average of 3,682 tigers.
    • Annual growth rate: 6.1% per annum.
  7. Tiger Occupancy Changes (2022 Census):
    • Increase: Shivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains.
    • Decline: Northeast Hills, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana.
    • Nilgiri cluster: Largest tiger population in the world.
  8. States with Highest Tiger Population (2022):
    • Madhya Pradesh: 785 tigers.
    • Karnataka: 563 tigers.
    • Uttarakhand: 560 tigers.
    • Maharashtra: 444 tigers.
  9. Tiger Census Techniques (2018 Census):
    • Digital Tiger census technique using double sampling.
    • M-stripes app for data collection and AI-based image analysis.
Region2006 Census2010 Census2014 Census2018 Census
Central India and the Eastern Ghats6016016881,033
Western Ghats402534776981
North East Hills & Bramhaputra Plains100148201219
Total Tiger Population in India1,4111,7062,2262,967

India’s Tiger Reserves and the Role of Project Tiger

Moreover, India’s dedication to tiger conservation is evident in the establishment of 49 reserves, each safeguarding these majestic creatures. Spearheaded by Project Tiger and administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), these reserves serve as sanctuaries of hope. The meticulous preservation strategies within these reserves have propelled India’s tiger population from a precarious 1,411 in 2006 to a promising 3,167 in 2023.

Between 2012 and 2017, there were 560 reported tiger deaths, including 308 natural deaths, 123 cases of poaching, 90 seizures, and 39 road and train mishaps.

In 2018, India’s tiger census involved Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Nepal, estimating big cat populations in shared border regions.

India is home to almost 70% of the world’s tiger population.

A Quantitative Perspective: Analyzing Tiger Census Data

Furthermore, the tiger census data serves as the foundation for comprehending the remarkable resurgence of these apex predators. The statistics are truly impressive: a growth rate of 20.9% from 2006 to 2010, a substantial 30.4% from 2010 to 2014, and a noteworthy 33.3% from 2014 to 2018. However, a nuanced analysis highlights the role of methodological shifts in these numbers, acknowledging the potential error range in the data.

Number of Tigers by States in India

Digital Tiger Census Technique: Enhancing Precision

The Tiger Census of 2018 embraced a digital transformation, introducing the Digital Tiger census technique. This approach retained the doubling sample technique while integrating advanced technological tools. Moreover, the introduction of a specially designed Android application significantly enhanced the accuracy of tiger counts. Furthermore, this innovation generally improved the precision of the counting process. This marked a remarkable shift from the earlier reliance on traditional methods, reflecting a dynamic adaptation to contemporary challenges.

Milestones of Technological Integration

The census of 2018 demonstrated a departure from precedent as it harnessed technology on an unprecedented scale. In the inaugural census of 2006, a modest count of 1,411 tigers was recorded. By 2010, the number had escalated to 1,706, and the 2014 census brought the count to 2,226 tigers. The significant role of technology became evident when juxtaposed with the unfortunate data of tiger deaths between 2012 and 2017. With 560 reported deaths, including instances of poaching and road mishaps, the urgency for accurate data and effective conservation strategies became more apparent than ever.

Regional Collaboration: A Groundbreaking Approach

The Tiger Census of 2018 carried a pioneering element – collaboration with neighboring countries. Notably, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Nepal joined hands with India in a concerted effort to estimate the number of tigers in shared border regions. This cross-border collaboration added a new dimension to the census, emphasizing the interconnectedness of ecosystems and the collective responsibility for conserving these magnificent creatures.

Promising Insights from Previous Census

The 2014 Tiger Census laid the foundation for subsequent surveys, yielding vital insights. Furthermore, it’s important to note that India houses almost 70% of the global tiger population. In light of this, the census approximated a collective of 2,226 tigers within the country. Furthermore, Karnataka stands out as a tiger stronghold, boasting a remarkable count of 408, the highest across all states.

2018 Census: Glimpses of Progress

The latest census offered intriguing glimpses into the status of India’s tiger population. Moreover, Madhya Pradesh, often acclaimed as the “Tiger State,” displayed signs of a possible tiger revival, as reported sightings hinted at a population surpassing 400. And also, among India’s diverse landscapes, the Shivalik Gangetic region stood out, witnessing a notable 50% surge in its tiger population over a span of four years.

Anticipating the Future: Challenges and Hope

While the results of the Tiger Census 2018 promised a positive trajectory, challenges persist. The Palamau Tiger Reserve’s absence of tiger evidence since 2016 serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing threats tigers face. Additionally, while awaiting the postponed 2019 census results, India remains committed to ensuring a flourishing tiger population.

Furthermore, the amalgamation of technology and conservation showcased in the Tiger Census 2018 highlights the general need for creative approaches. As India aims to surpass the 3,000-tiger mark and further solidify its position as a global leader in tiger conservation, technology will continue to play a pivotal role. And also, fueled by data-driven insights, cross-border collaborations, and a determined approach to confront challenges directly, the saga of India’s tigers exemplifies a united endeavor, holding the potential for a more radiant future for these splendid beings.


And also, the narrative of India’s tiger census embodies dedication, innovation, and a victorious struggle against challenges. The collaborative endeavors of conservationists, policymakers, and local communities have indeed ensured a more promising future for these majestic striped creatures. However, the journey is far from over. And also, as we commemorate this conservation triumph, it’s important to recognize that moving forward requires continuous dedication, flexibility, and a collective determination to ensure that the majestic roar of the Royal Bengal Tiger resonates for future generations.

Also read https://thelogicalpie.com/10-visionaries-who-have-changed-our-world-and-how-we-think/blog/

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