India’s amazing Western Ghats is one of the most bio-diverse wilderness areas in the world. It is home to the largest population of wild tigers in the world. Tigers are secretive by nature, and getting an accurate count of their population has been near impossible–until now. Recently Dr. K. Ullas Karanth of the Wildlife Conservation Society came up with an ingenious solution to the problem:
The population of tigers is declining, so it is essential to monitor the wild cats’ behaviors and populations. In the late 1960s, Indian officials attempted to study tigers by using their tracks alone. But Karanth says this method wasn’t accurate—it was nearly impossible to document specific tigers. He knew he need to come up with something better.
Now, with the aid of Karanth’s camera traps, the tiger population can be better protected—and hopefully preserved for generations to come.
“Camera trapping allows us to very accurately monitor tiger populations—find out how many there are, how their numbers are changing, how many survive from year to year, and how many new tigers are entering the population. This is really critical to know whether your efforts to save them are succeeding or failing. This is an…ecological audit.”
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