Tiger census from Wednesday

Tiger census from Wednesday

Survey will continue till December 23

Tiger census from Wednesday

The quadrennial tiger census held across the country, will kick off in the State at Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR), Gundlupet taluk, Chamarajanagar district, on December 18. Training for volunteers and forest department staff taking part in the survey will begin on Monday. 

The survey will go on till December 23, in the 1,200-sq km area of BTR. More than 1,000 people from across the country applied for participation in the census but only 230 had been selected after a filtration process, the chief conservator of forests and director of BTR, H C Kantharaju, told Deccan Herald. 

The entire BTR area has been divided into 115 beats, covering about 10 sq km, where volunteers and forest department personnel will undertake the survey to assess the population of tigers and other animals in BTR. 

“During the survey, one forest department staff member and two volunteers will be deputed to one beat. But in the last survey, only one staff member and one volunteer were deputed per beat,” Kantharaju said. A small number of women volunteers are also expected to take part in the survey. While two women have already reported for the survey, eight more are expected, he added. A few NRIs will also participate.
 From December 18 to 20, the survey will attempt to gauge the number of carnivores, while from December 21-23, it will concentrate on the number of herbivores in the region. 

Kantharaju said that direct and indirect methods would be used for the survey. While direct methods include spotting an animal in the wild, indirect methods will collect scat samples, analyse footprints and nail markings of the animal to ascertain the presence of an animal in a particular area. 

Accommodation for volunteers had been provided at 46 anti-poaching camps spread over 13 forest ranges in BTR, the official said. 

In the last survey, about 100 tigers had been identified in the reserve, with an error margin of five per cent. 

“With conservation measures in place at the reserve this time, we expect the population of tigers and other animals to go up,” Kantharaju said.