The country’s 2018 tiger census has made a world record of being the largest ever camera trap wildlife survey.
The fourth edition of the census, which was carried out between 2018-19, was ‘the most comprehensive to date, in terms of both resource and data amassed, mentions the Guinness Book of World Record on its website.
Environment minister Prakash Javadekar while lauding the feat said the aim is to double the numbers achieved four years before target.
Since 2006, the government of India has been conducting the census every four years led by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) with cooperation from various state forest departments and conservation NGOs.
The exercise aims at arriving at a nationwide assessment into the country’s population and habitat of tigers (Panthera tigris).
The latest survey was carried out in three phases, marked by an ‘unprecedented camera trap usage’.
Around 34,858,623 photographs of wildlife (76,651 of which were tigers and 51,777 were leopards; the remainder were other native fauna) were captured during the survey from which 2,461 individual tigers (excluding cubs) were identified.
The 2018 ‘Status of Tigers in India’ assessment also conducted extensive foot surveys that covered 522,996 km (324,975 mi) of trails and sampled 317,958 habitat plots for vegetation and prey dung.
It’s estimated that the total area of forest studied was 381,200 km2 (147,181 sq mi) and cumulatively the collection and review of data equated to some 620,795 labour-days.