Success in genetic research on tigers

GUWAHATI, Oct 1 – Aaranyak, a society for biodiversity conservation, has achieved significant success in genetic research on tigers of North East India. Wildlife Genetics Laboratory of Aaranyak, based in Guwahati has successfully used DNA based analysis techniques for population estimation by using faecal samples of tigers in Buxa Tiger Reserve, in northern West Bengal.

In a joint effort between Buxa Tiger Reserve Authority and Aaranyak, genetic profiling of tiger faecal samples collected from the area has been undertaken in order to understand the minimum number of tigers present.

This work was undertaken due to recent doubts on the status of tigers in Buxa Tiger Reserve, raised by some experts in the country. In a report submitted to the Buxa Tiger Reserve Authority, Wildlife Genetics Laboratory of Aaranyak has given sufficient scientific evidence about the presence of at least fifteen individual tigers in the study area.

This is for the first time that DNA based techniques of analysis of faecal samples have successfully been used for estimating the number of tigers in a protected area in Eastern and North East India.

This project team, led by Udayan Borthakur, head of Wildlife Genetics Programme of Aaranyak, comprised field and laboratory biologists of Aaranyak. A technical report on genetic assessment of Buxa tiger population will soon be published jointly by Aaranyak and Buxa Tiger Reserve authority.