Standing with a Tiger at my feet
In the past, Indian censuses of wild tigers relied on the individual identification of footprints known as pug marks — a method that has been criticized as deficient and inaccurate.
Good tiger habitats in subtropical and temperate upland forests include the Tiger Conservation Units (TCUs) Manas-Namdapha. TCUs in tropical dry forest includeHazaribagh National Park, Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve, Kanha-Indravati corridor, Orissa dry forests, Panna National Park, Melghat Tiger Reserve and Ratapani Tiger Reserve. The TCUs in tropical moist deciduous forest are probably some of the most productive habitats for tigers and their prey, and include Kaziranga-Meghalaya,Kanha-Pench, Simlipal and Indravati Tiger Reserves. The TCUs in tropical moist evergreen forests represent the less common tiger habitats, being largely limited to the upland areas and wetter parts of the Western Ghats, and include the Tiger Reserves of Periyar, Kalakad-Mundathurai, Bandipur and Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary.
The methodology used during the tiger census of 2008 extrapolates site-specific densities of tigers, their co-predators and prey derived from camera trap and sign surveys using GIS. Based on the result of these surveys, the total tiger population has been estimated at 1,411 individuals ranging from 1,165 to 1,657 adult and sub-adult tigers of more than 1.5 years of age. The following six landscape complexes comprising several ecological landscapes were surveyed across India based on current tiger occupancy and potential for connectivity: