International Journal of
Biodiversity and Conservation

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Biodivers. Conserv.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-243X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJBC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 625

Full Length Research Paper

Noninvasive genetic assessment of population status of tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) in Buxa Tiger Reserve, West Bengal, India

Udayan Borthakur1*, Ravinder Pall Saini2, Subhankar Sen Gupta2, Rajendra Jakher2, Chatrapati Das1, Arup Kumar Das1, Pranjit Kumar Sarma1, Bibhab Kumar Talukdar1 and Rupjyoti Bharali3
1Aaranyak, 50, Samanwoy Path, Survey, P.O.- Beltola, Guwahati -781028, Assam, India. 2Buxa Tiger Reserve, Directorate of Forests, Govt. of West Bengal, Alipurduar Court , Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri – 736122, West Bengal, India. 3Department of Biotechnology, Gauhati University, Guwahati – 781015, Assam, India.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 04 January 2013
  •  Published: 31 January 2013

Abstract

Population size estimation is a prerequisite for assessment of conservation status of a species in its natural habitat. With a global scenario of vanishing local population of tigers in many parts of its range distribution, estimation of the minimum number of individuals is vital for prioritizing conservation attention to specific areas with long term possibility of survival of the species. In the present study, DNA based techniques were used to identify species, individuals and sex from 72 faecal samples collected from Buxa Tiger Reserve of West Bengal. Present study confirms the presence of 15 individual tigers with 3 male, 9 female and 3 with unknown sex identity. Genetic capture recapture estimate based on single session sampling using CAPWIRE yields population size of 25 (95% CI 19 to 31) following the even capture probability model. Results obtained from the present study indicate possible movement of tigers from contiguous forest patches of Bhutan to the north and Manas Tiger Reserve on the east of Buxa. The present study shows that noninvasive genetics can be an effective tool in monitoring elusive species such as tiger, especially in areas of low population density.

 

Key words: Panthera tigris tigris, noninvasive genetics, microsatellite, population estimation, CAPWIRE, Buxa Tiger Reserve.