At the start of Project Tiger in the 1970s, the Indian Forest Department created the method of pug mark identification to distinguish between tigers and arrive at an estimate of the number of tigers in a park. Work by wildlife scientists proved that this method was highly unreliable, since the same tiger’s pug marks could look very different depending on the terrain. The high element of human subjectivity in casting and reading the pug marks resulted in the same animal being counted multiple times, and thus tiger numbers were highly inflated.
Since then, stripe patterns have been recognised the most reliable and unique identifiers. During the 2006 census, the camera trapping method pioneered by Dr. Ullas Karanth was used by WII and NTCA in various tiger reserves for the first time. and since then photographic evidence has continuously gained importance. Photographs taken by tourists also prove to be an excellent resource to identify, track and monitor individual tigers every season.
This booklet has been prepared as a handbook to help easily identify tigers in the field in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. Certain stripe patterns have been highlighted, but identification can be carried out through other characteristics or markings as well.
Please note: This is not an exhaustive list of all the tigers in this reserve.
To download a copy of this booklet, please click here.