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Happy News in a Pandemic: Tiger Numbers go up in Andhra

The tiger is burning bright in Andhra Pradesh and the rising number of adult and sub-adult big cats during the last five years has filled conservationists with contentment.
 
Of the 3,980 tigers left in the world, India, with 2,226, accounts for 75% of the tiger population. The magnificent animal is at the top of the food pyramid and is vital to maintain the ecosystem. A massive conservation effort spearheaded by the Forest Department and many global NGOs has started showing results as is evident from the tangible increase in the population of tigers.
 
The Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) is the largest one in the country and it is here the number of big cats is on the rise. According to the tiger census carried out by the Wildlife Institute of India and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (2018) and released on July 29th, 2019, Andhra Pradesh has 48 adult tigers and Telangana 26, in comparison with 68 (2014), 72 (2010) and 95 (2006).
 
According to AP Forest department, there is conclusive proof of the presence of 60 big cats in the NSTR, an increase of about 12 (adults) over the last one year. “We have camera trap images of each of 60 tigers. The remarkable rise in numbers is due to the persistent efforts of the department through the local community, intense patrolling and conservation methods,’’ a forest department official said. 
 
In spite of limited support financially and in terms of resources provided by the government, the Forest Department has fared well in tiger conservation by engaging the local tribals, numbering 500, undertaking active surveillance by using sensor-based camera traps and ensuring 24 X7 patrolling by the personnel.
 
Amidst the pandemic, looks like we have something to cheer about! All hail the animal that keeps the food pyramid alive! 

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