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Science deficiency in conservation practice: the monitoring of tiger populations in India

Animal Conservation

6051_Karanth.pdf
By:
, , , , , , , ,
DOI: 10.1017/S1367943003003184

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Abstract

Conservation practices are supposed to get refined by advancing scientific knowledge. We study this phenomenon in the context of monitoring tiger populations in India, by evaluating the 'pugmark census method' employed by wildlife managers for three decades. We use an analytical framework of modem animal population sampling to test the efficacy of the pugmark censuses using scientific data on tigers and our field observations. We identify three critical goals for monitoring tiger populations, in order of increasing sophistication: (1) distribution mapping, (2) tracking relative abundance, (3) estimation of absolute abundance. We demonstrate that the present census-based paradigm does not work because it ignores the first two simpler goals, and targets, but fails to achieve, the most difficult third goal. We point out the utility and ready availability of alternative monitoring paradigms that deal with the central problems of spatial sampling and observability. We propose an alternative sampling-based approach that can be tailored to meet practical needs of tiger monitoring at different levels of refinement.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Science deficiency in conservation practice: the monitoring of tiger populations in India
Series title:
Animal Conservation
DOI:
10.1017/S1367943003003184
Volume
6
Issue:
2
Year Published:
2003
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
141-146
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
141
Last page:
146
Number of Pages:
6