Cat count

Published: Wednesday 15 April 1998

Cameras can help to determine< (Credit: Alphonse roy)there are various methods to determine the census of tigers.

The traditional method of conducting a tiger census is by studying the pug marks of the tiger. However, experts feel that this is not the most accurate method of enumeration.

Experts believe that the pug marks of tigers can be counted many times. Though India has two-thirds of the world's population of tigers, many have questioned the accuracy of the tiger census figures of the forest departments.

Ulhas Karanth, the wildlife scientist from Karnataka, has been using a photo-trap method for tiger census. This method uses cameras that are placed strategically in forest areas and when the tiger interrupts the invisible beam of the camera it is automatically photographed. Since the stripes on the face and body of each tiger is distinctive -- very much like the lines on the palm of our hands -- it is possible to establish accurately the exact number of tigers living in a range.

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