Distribution and Dynamics of Tiger and Prey Populations in Karnataka
The project addresses the critical conservation needs of tigers and its long-term monitoring by understanding the population dynamics of its prey-predator populations.
Using biologically meaningful and sophisticated stochastic occupancy models, reasonable estimates of tiger abundance index across large regions were generated. The survey protocols developed under this project added new tools for monitoring tigers at a large regional level. This state-of-the-art occupancy modeling approach has been adopted at other important tiger states in India.
A key idea during the project was also to build local capacity for continued monitoring of tiger and prey populations in the state. Over 20 research assistants were trained in the implementation of field sampling protocols and in the analytical aspects involved in large mammal population monitoring methods. One of the key achievements has been the dramatic recovery of prey populations (in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary) following the removal of anthropogenic pressures from within the park through effective management interventions.
In the course of this project, 220 tigers were tracked across three sites over four years. It effectively demonstrated how annual monitoring of tiger and prey populations in key sites is important to detect trends in populations over time.