The tiger census is expected to be taken up in Telangana next month, a senior official of the state forest department has said.
This would be the first census of the striped animals in Telangana after the formation of the state. The last such count was carried out in 2013-14 in the undivided Andhra Pradesh.
"(It will be taken up) mostly in third week or fourth of January... the field exercise (of the census) will be (for) five days," the official told PTI here.
He said the tiger population in Telangana is estimated to be around 17.
According to the Central governments guidelines, the census needs to be taken up throughout the country in January and February, the official said.
The counting exercise also includes carnivorous animals and mega-herbivores (a large herbivore such as an elephant), he said.
"There are other parameters also which are taken into consideration. But, because tiger is the flagship animal, naturally it is considered as the tiger census," he said.
The tiger census is taken up in the country every four years and is coordinated by the National Tiger Conservation Agency (NTCA). The Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun provides technical guidance, the official said.
The forest beat (a particular area within the forest limits) is considered to be a sampling unit for the tiger census, he added.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), tigers have lost 93 per cent of their historical range.
Human and wildlife conflict, climate change, poaching and illegal wildlife trade are among the major reasons that have pushed the feline into the endangered category facing risk of extinction in the wild -- over the years, the WWF said.