India’s wild tiger population rises 33% in four years

The Guardian

Prime minister says increase after conservation efforts is ‘historic achievement’

India’s wild tiger population has increased by more than 30% in four years, raising hopes for the survival of the endangered species.

A census found there were 2,967 tigers, up from 2,226 four years ago. The prime minister, Narendra Modi, called the figures a “historic achievement” and said India was one of the biggest and safest habitats for tigers around the world.

The comprehensive survey is conducted every four years and is based on information collected by wildlife officials across 146,000 sq miles (380,000 sq km) of land. It also draws on data collected from almost 350,000 images taken by 26,000 camera traps in known tiger habitats.

Conservation experts said the rise in the tiger population was promising but the figures should be treated with some caution. The rise may indicate better counting.

Neha Sinha, a wildlife conservationist, said the census may suggest more tigers are breeding in protected areas but there were worrying signs tigers are not able to safely disperse and find their own territory.

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