India to estimate elephant and leopard populations alongside tiger census, results to be released by December | The Weather Channel – Articles from The Weather Channel
From this year, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) will conduct elephant and leopard estimates alongside tiger estimates.
The tiger census is carried out every four years, while the elephant census is carried out every five years. According to 2018-19 data, there are 2,967 tigers in the country and less than 30,000 elephants according to the 2017 figure.
The elephant data comes from what ministry officials have called a “head count” which they say is full of potential errors.
“The head count method is outdated and leads to errors,” the officials said, adding that “the new methods rely on robust scientific methods based on statistical models.”
While the population of tigers is estimated using camera traps, matching and identifying their stripes, for elephants it is their droppings that play a vital role. Density study as well as DNA analysis on elephant dung samples provide insight into the elephant population in the area.
It was announced that data for all three species would be released in December.
Stating that elephants and tigers share almost the same habitat, ministry officials said that “a protocol for pan-India estimation of tigers and elephants was devised, worked out, adopted and published in August of the last year”.
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