The other day I read a very interesting paper “Monitoring tigers with confidence” authored by Matthew LINKIE,Gurutzeta GUILLERA-ARROITA,Joseph SMITH, and D. Mark RAYAN.
The paper gave me insights in to the latest trends in tiger monitoring. With the tiger population on the decline, conservationists urgently need to know whether or not the management strategies currently being employed are effectively protecting these tigers. This knowledge depends on the ability to reliably monitor tiger populations.
2 seminal methodologies, camera traps and occupancy surveys have enabled the monitoring of tiger populations with greater confidence. The paper discusses in detail these two methodologies.
The authors say only 2 published camera trap studies have gone beyond single baseline assessments and actually monitored population trends. .For low density tiger populations obtaining sufficient precision, from camera trapping remain a challenge. This is because of insufficient detection probabilities and/orsample sizes. Occupancy surveys have overcome this problem by redefining the sampling unit. They go for grid cells and not individual tigers.
Use of genetic information for identifying and monitoring tigers opens up exciting possibilities. The impact of the different threats to tiger populations and their response to varying management intervention is made much more feasible with the adoption of these complementary studies.
The authors say for most priority tiger conservation areas, tiger population trend data and associated threat and environmental correlates remain unknown. They wind up the paper with the following sentence” Thus, the repeated implementation of the rigorous approaches described in this paper are essential to demonstrate to protected area managers, donors and policy-makers alike those strategies that work and, just as importantly, those that do not work, so that systematic evaluations can be made for improved management of tiger and other endangered species in the wild (Sutherland et al. 2004).”