India to set up a National Database of Camera-captured Tigers

Tigers in India

Tigers in India

by Jessica frei,

The present 21st century is standing on the shafts of technology. In fact the modern day technology is playing a significant role in wildlife conservation efforts. Recently, various news portals are on fire with the news of ‘India to set up a national database of camera-captured Tigers’.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is putting forward an initiative to create a national database of tiger count via camera traps. The official name of this database will be National Repository of Camera Trap Photographs of Tigers, in short NRCTPT. As per this new initiative, the photographs of tigers dwelling at various wildlife sanctuaries in India will be collected as a data for future conservation strategies.

Prime aim of NRCTPT

There are three main objectives behind setting up NRCTPT and they are mentioned below:
• Assigning Unique Tiger Identification Numbers: The camera trap survey will click the images of tigers and then those pictures will be used for assigning Unique Tiger Identification (UTID) number to the royal cats. Earlier the pug-mark tiger census method was used for allotting UTIDs to the tigers. Unfortunately, this method had a pitfall of multiple counting of individual tigers in different areas. The camera traps can overcome this with much ease.
• Avoiding inaccuracy of the database: In the past, cases have been recorded of either purposeful or accidental introduction of false tiger images from some uncertain sources. With the establishment of a National Repository of Camera Trap Photographs of Tigers, this inaccuracy of the database can be avoided and can be eliminated from the roots. This further will make sure that the protocols for assigning a unique ID are followed with utmost precision.
Rigorous analysis of data: Another aim of NRCTPT is to provide an accurate photo capture date and location, so as to help in accurate analysis of the data.

Some anticipations budding around:

Almost every new initiative is incomplete without anticipations. Similarly, there are a few anticipations associated with NRCTPT. One such estimation is that the number of camera trapped tigers by Wildlife Conservation Society in January 2006 will form the core of the database. This 2006 camera trapped census recorded around 1400 individual tigers. Further, images from different sources like police might also form the part of the database.

Is national database of camera-captured tigers actually a worth establishing?
Of course it is! The Wildlife Conservation Society of Karnataka has maintained a database of tiger IDs that has around 4000 images of almost 600 big cats via different sources. These images are used as real time data that is shared with the State Forest Department and National Tiger Conservation Authority. This data is then used for planning future conservation policies for preserving tigers.
This is yet another big initiative taken by the authorities in respect of tiger conservation. The establishment of National Repository of Camera Trap Photographs of Tigers is supposed to bring accuracy in the database; thus, different wildlife sanctuaries and tiger reserves in India will witness further development.

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