AR-News: (US) Tigers: Big Cats Need Cat Food

Animalara2003 at Animalara2003 at
Mon Mar 22 23:23:10 EST 2004

 Scientists from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and 
their collaborators from the US Geological Survey’s wildlife research center in 
Maryland have developed a model that shows a solid quantitative relationship 
between tiger numbers and the amount of prey available to these highly 
endangered big cats. Published in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the 
National Academy of Sciences, the model can not only accurately predict tiger 
density over a variety of habitats, but also help safeguard populations by 
pinpointing the causes of their decline. 
The authors tested their model by sampling tiger and prey populations in 11 
ecologically distinct sites in India – from grasslands to dry forests – over 
an eight-year period, with teams of biologists walking more than 4,200 miles to 
count prey animals, and setting hundreds of camera traps over 8,600 days of 
effort. Densities of ungulate prey such as deer, antelopes, wild cattle and 
wild pigs ranged from a low of 5.3 animals per square kilometer in Meghat 
Reserve, to more than 63 per square kilometer in Pench Reserve. The model predictions 
matched the measured tiger densities ranging between 3.2 to 16.8 tigers per 
100 square kilometers.

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