Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Common survey to count India’s elephant and tiger populations


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: NA

From December, India will move to a system that will count tigers and elephants as part of a common survey.

Common survey for elephants and tiger

  • Given that 90% of the area occupied by elephants and tigers is common, and once estimation methods are standardized, having a common survey can significantly save costs.
  • The tiger survey is usually held once in four years and elephants are counted once in five years.
  • According to the most recent 2018-19 survey, there were 2,997 tigers in India while in the last count in 2017, there were 29,964 elephants in India.

Answer this PYQ:

With reference to Indian Elephants, consider the following statements :

1. The leader of an elephant group is a female.
2. The maximum gestation period can be 22 months.
3. An elephant can normally go on calving till the age of 40 years only.
4. Among the States in India, the highest population is in Kerala.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct ?

(a) 1and 2 only

(b) 2 and 4 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1,3 and 4 only


Post your answers here:
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Why need a common survey?

  • Based on sightings in camera traps and indirect estimation methods, tiger numbers are computed.
  • Elephant numbers largely rely on States directly counting the number of elephants.
  • In recent years, techniques such as analyzing dung samples have also been deployed to estimate birth rates and population trends in elephants.

About All India Tiger Estimation

  • The tiger count is prepared after every four years by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) provides details on the number of tigers in the 18 tiger reign states with 50 tiger reserves.
  • It is conducted by the NTCA and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in collaboration with the State Forest Departments.
  • The entire exercise spanned over four years is considered to be the world’s largest wildlife survey effort in terms of coverage and intensity of sampling.
  • Over 15, 000 cameras are installed at various strategic points to capture the movement of tigers.
  • This is supported by extensive data collected by field personnel and satellite mapping.


Back2Basics: Asian Elephants

  • Asian elephants are listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
  • This has been done as most of the range States except India have lost their viable elephant populations due to loss of habitat, poaching, etc.
  • Current population estimates indicate that there are about 50,000-60,000 Asian elephants in the world.
  • More than 60% of the world’s elephant population is in India.

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2 years ago
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1 & 2 only. Karnataka has the max count. 40-50 years sometimes 60 years also.

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2 years ago
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