Status and abundance of tigers in Manas National Park, Assam
Dipankar Lahkar1, Pallabi Chakraborty2, Nilmani Rabha3. 1 Aaranyak, 50, Samanwoy Path,Survey, Guwahati, Assam. Www.Aaranyak.Org, 2 Wwf India, North Bank Landscape Conservation Program, Tezpur, Assam Www.Wwfindia.Org, 3 Atree, 19, Guwahati, Project Office, Mother Teresa Path, Guwahati, Assam. Www.Atree.Org
The tiger is the topmost predator stayed at the apex of the food chain. Due to political unrest happened in more than a decade, many animals faced serious threats for their survival. Rhino has been locally extinct from the park. Thus it was a high time to evaluate the population status of tiger in the park.The main aim of the study was to estimate abundance of tiger populations using photographic capture-recapture models in the Park.
We used remotely triggered camera-traps and a capture-recapture framework to estimate the population size of tigers.The Study was conducted in two successive session, 2011-12 and 2012-13.A pair of camera traps were placed in each 4km2 grid cell size.All the cameras were kept for minimum 45 days.The photo captured individual tigers were identified by their stripe patterns.Every photo captured tiger was given a unique identification number (e.g. MTR_001_F etc).
In the session 2011-12, we surveyed 120 trap stations covering 480 Km2. The total effort was 6480 camera-trap nights.We identified 18 adult individuals comprising of 6 males and 9 females, 3 unknown sexes. 4 cubs were also captured.In 2012-13 we captured 13 individuals, comprising 3 males, 8 females and 2 unidentified sexes. Detail interpretation and analysis part is underway.
The tigers continued to survive despite the decade long civil unrest. Studies have clearly shown that in the presence of a good prey base and connectivity the tiger populations are capable of rapid recovery. The contiguous land scrape of Manas and Royal Manas NP provides an ample scope for the future sustainable tiger conservation. Manas landscape still has breeding population of tigers,is the most promising tiger habitat in the whole of north-east India.