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Govt got its math on tigers wrong?

 


Hindustan Times, New Delhi, May 15, 2011

India may have got its latest tiger population estimation wrong. On Friday, eight top wildlife experts, in a letter published in the Science magazine, said environment minister Jairam Ramesh's announcement that the tiger population had increased from 1,411 in 2006 to 1,706 in 2010 was based on "unreliable" data.

The letter added to the pressure on the government to adopt a new comprehensive methodology to count the tigers. K Ullas Karanth and seven Indian and international scientists said in their letter, "These (government's) assertions cannot be verified because details of tiger photo-captures at sampled locations, as well as of spatial extrapolations from these data, are incomplete."

Ramesh hit back by accusing Karanth, a member of the ministry's National Tiger Conservation Authority, of being intellectually dishonest and said the tiger estimation was correct. "Karanth is like the species (tiger) he studies -- extremely territory-conscious and essentially a loner," he said in an email to HT.


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