Earth Overshoot Day
Kerala – Elephants
TIGER CENSUS – INTRODUCTION
In 2010, at the Tiger Summit of St. Petersburg, world leaders committed to doubling tiger numbers by 2022. The tiger population of India is the largest for any country, accounting for >80% of the Global population of 3,159 adult free-ranging tigers. Therefore, the future of tigers as a species, as well as the success of the Global Tiger Recovery Plan at meeting its targets, depends on successful tiger recovery in India.
The Project Tiger, that was initiated in 1973 with nine tiger reserves (~18,278 km ) has now grown to cover 50 tiger reserves (~72,749 km ) covering about 2.21% of India’s geographical area.
The survey, the fourth such since 2006, is a gargantuan exercise and conducted once in four years. The latest survey is the culmination of 15 months of forest officials surveying 381,400 square kilometres of forested habitat, installing 26,760 camera traps and wildlife biologists ferreting through 35 million images of wildlife — 76,523 of which were tigers (there can be multiple images of the same tiger). Nearly 83% of the estimated tiger population was captured in these images.
India’s national tiger assessment is the largest biodiversity survey being carried out anywhere in the world. The fourth cycle of the assessment was undertaken in 2018 and 2019 using the best available science, technology and analytical tools. In this cycle, recording of primary field data digitally through mobile phone application like M-STrIPES (Monitoring System for tigers – intensive protection and ecological status), that uses GPS to geotag photoevidences, and survey information made this exercise more accurate, with smaller margins of human error.
Further, it involved the development of innovative technology like automated segregation of camera trap photographs to species using artificial intelligence and neural network models (software CaTRAT – Camera Trap data Repository and Analysis 6 Tool).
Program ExtractCompare that fingerprints tigers from their stripe patterns was used to count the number of individual tigers (>1 year old). The unique feature of this cycle of assessment, in keeping up with “Digital India”, is the development and use of innovative technological tools in collection and processing of data to reduce human errors.
Spatial data on individual tiger photo-captures is used in combination with spatial data on prey, habitat, and anthropogenic factors as covariates in a joint likelihood spatially explicit capture-mark-recapture (SECR) framework to arrive at tiger population estimates for each tiger landscape.
The total count of tigers has risen to 2,967 from 2,226 in 2014, an increase of 741 individuals (aged more than one year), or 33%, in four years. India has achieved the target of doubling the tiger count four years ahead of the deadline of 2022. This is by far the biggest increase in Tiger count in terms of both numbers and percentage (since the four-yearly census using camera traps and the capture-mark-recapture method began in 2006).
Madhya Pradesh saw the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442). Increase in Tiger population – Madhya Pradesh (71%) > Maharashtra (64%) > Uttarkhand (30%) > Karnataka (29%).
Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in tiger population and all other States saw a “positive” increase.
Madhya Pradesh’s Pench Sanctuary and Kerala’s Periyar sanctuary emerged as the bestmanaged tiger reserves in the country.
Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu registered the “maximum improvement” since 2014.
Tigers were not recorded in Buxa, Dampa and Palamau tiger reserves. Reserves had poor tiger status in earlier assessments as well.
GLOBAL TIGER DAY
Global Tiger Day, often called International Tiger Day, is an annual celebration to raise awareness for tiger conservation, held annually on 29 July.
It was created in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit. The goal of the day is to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues.
Indonesia plans to close its eastern island of Komodo to the public next year in a bid to conserve rare Komodo dragons, the largest living species of lizard. Komodo National Park is the only habitat for the world’s largest lizard species.
Closing the island to tourists aims to avert interference and cut the risk of poaching to allow a recovery in the numbers of the animals’ preferred prey, such as deer, buffalo and wild boar.
KOMODO NATIONAL PARK
These volcanic islands are inhabited by a population of around 5,700 giant lizards, whose appearance and aggressive behaviour have led to them being called ‘Komodo dragons’. A conservation area between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores visited by more than 176,000 tourists from all over the world in 2018. As well as the beautiful beaches and scenery, many visitors came to see the dragons, only found in the wild in eastern Indonesia.
Komodo’s have a venomous bite, which has been shown to secrete an anticoagulant. An anticoagulant is a compound that prevents the victim’s blood from clotting, causing it to bleed to death.
The Komodo dragon is the largest and heaviest of all living species of lizard. They are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.
EARTH OVERSHOOT DAY
It marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what the Earth can regenerate in that year.
It fell on 29th July, 2019, earliest ever.
EARTH OVERSHOOT DAY
Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth’s ecosystems can regenerate in that year. Over the past 20 years, it has moved up two months to July 29, the earliest ever. This means that humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate, equivalent to 1.75 Earths. Humanity first saw ecological deficit in the early 1970s. Overshoot is possible because we are depleting our natural capital, compromising the planet’s future regenerative capacity.
Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by dividing the world biocapacity (the amount of natural resources generated by Earth that year), by the world ecological footprint (humanity’s consumption of Earth’s natural resources for that year), and multiplying by 365, the number of days in one Gregorian common calendar year – Earth Overshoot Day = (Planet’s Biocapacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365
It is computed by Global Footprint Network, which is an international non profit organization founded in the year 2003. Andrew Simms of UK think tank New Economics Foundation originally developed the concept of Earth Overshoot Day.
KERALA MAY HAVE UNDERCOUNTED JUMBOS
Kerala may have undercounted almost 2,700 elephants in the latest elephant census.
In 2017, the Union environment ministry reported that there were 27,312 elephants on average in the country according to figures collated from 23 States, a decline from the 29,576 elephants recorded as the mean figure in 2012. The exercise was part of the elephant census, conducted once in 5 years under the aegis of Project Elephant.
The earlier 2017 figures indicated that Kerala had only 3,054 elephants whereas, recent number showed Kerala as having 5,706 elephants. The Andaman and Nicobar islands was the only other region that showed a different number from its 2017 estimate: 25 as opposed to the earlier 19.
A scientist associated with the census said that the discrepancy had resulted from Kerala’s insistence in 2017 on using a technique called the ‘direct count’ method. Because sighting animals in the wild is hard, researchers over the years have used several proxies as well as statistical techniques to estimate population. The method in vogue is the ‘indirect count’ method that estimates populations in a region based on sightings of elephant dung. Kerala’s revised figure is likely based on the indirect count.
Project Elephant (PE) is a wildlife conservation project initiated in India in February 1992 with the aim to provide financial and technical support to major elephant bearing States in the country for protection of elephants, their habitats and corridors. It is a centrally sponsored scheme. The Project is being mainly implemented in 16 States / UTs. 32 Elephant Reserves in India.