India's 'Tiger Census' will be released on March 28, environment minister Jairam Ramesh announced on Thursday and hoped that the country will be able to report that the big cat's population is more than the existing figure of 1,411 after the results of the exercise are out.
"It is the most comprehensive census we have done so far and very systematically, involving a large number of people. We are releasing it on March 28," Jairam said.
The census was carried out by installing cameras at strategic points, like water bodies in the forests, as also in the respective territories of the big cats and a computer analysis was done to collate the data.
The 2007 census had shown a sharp fall in the number of tigers in 'protected areas' - reserves, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries - in 19 states across the country. According to it, India had only 1,411 wild cats left in its forests.
"I hope that on March 28 we will be able to report that tiger population figure of 1,411 in India is infact more than 1,411," Jairam told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
However, he expressed concern over the threat to the forest eco-system from multitude of sources, a true representation of the tigers.
"Tiger is a representation of our forest eco-system is under severe threat from our eco-system which is under serious threat from variety of sources, severe threat from poachers, hoteliers, hotels, from mining mafias, from political networks and from people who in made rush of inda becoming the next economic super power," he said.
Jairam said the government's endeavour would be to see tigers in the wild rather than in captivity.
"Over 50% of 3500 tigers in the wild are in India and 17,000 are in captivity. We dont want to see tigers in captivity but in wild," he said.
Asked about the rising cases of man-animal conflict in the Corbett National Park, Jairam expressed hope the government will be able to solve the problem with the state government there.
"I have given a detailed action plan for Corbett to the chief minister. I hope he will take action on that," he said.