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New mobile application M-STrIPES used to estimate tiger population: WII scientist

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: July 29, 2019  | 19:02 IST

New Delhi, Jul 29 (PTI) In a first, wildlife officials used mobile application M-STrIPES (Monitoring System For Tigers-Intensive Protection and Ecological Status) to estimate the big cat population in the country, a WII scientist said on Monday soon after the release of the All India Tiger Estimate report. Y V Jhala, Scientist, Tiger Cell at Wildlife Institute of India (WII), an autonomous institution of the Environment Ministry, who also contributed to the report, said M-STrIPES made it a lot easier for officials to collect and collate data digitally. "This mobile app records the track a forest official walks and geotags the sightings of tigers and even other animals or signs which helps in the estimation. It was easier this time but the data was huge," Jhala said. As per the four-yearly report, India had 2,967 tigers in 2018, an increase from 2,226 in 2014. According to the report, data was received from 491 forest divisions of India and it was processed using M-STrIPES software. M-STrIPES, the application used by forest guards, is GPS-enabled and helps to capture data relating to tiger sightings, deaths, wildlife crime and ecological observations while patrolling. "Data entry errors, if any, were communicated back to the respective forest divisions for rectification. In case of carnivore sign survey data, the software was used to prepare input files for modelling occupancy of different species," the report said. Also, more than 80 per cent of tigers photographs were captured through camera trapping methodology this time, compared to 70 per cent in 2014, the report said. Nearly 27,000 camera traps were set up in 141 locations covering an area of 121,337 sq km and they took nearly 3.48 crore photographs. Out of the total pictures, about 80,000 were of tigers. The other software used for tiger estimation were -- Spatially Explicit Capture Recapture (SECR) and Extract Compare, which helps differentiate between the stripes of tigers as each has a different pattern. The report covers 18 tiger reign states with 50 tiger reserves along with areas beyond these reserves where tigers can be found. According to Jhala, one third of the total tiger population of 2,967 was found beyond tiger reserves. This is the fourth cycle of the tiger census. The first was conducted in 2006, second in 2010 and third in 2014. A team of over 44,000 officials worked on the census this time with 55 biologists across the country, the WII scientist said. The census does not include cubs and only adult tigers are counted. PTI AG AAR AAR

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