While tigers and other carnivores remained elusive during the quadrennial Tiger Census, being held at tiger reserves and national parks across the country, herbivores were easy sightings for the volunteers participating in the survey. While, more than 350 volunteers are in Chamarajanagar district for the survey, only a few spotted tigers in their natural habitat.
Others had to be satisfied with sighting elephants, bears, spotted dears, sambars, gaur, malabar squirrels and others. A few others were lucky to spot another member of the cat family, leopards.
On Saturday, volunteers began a survey of herbivores in the region. During the first three days, survey of carnivores were taken up.
Forest officials said that only a few had spotted tigers and leopards because the felines were very alert and would move clear of humans, even before humans could sense their presence. With volunteers participating in large numbers, it is highly unlikely that everyone gets to see the tiger.
Shashibushan Mishra, a third year student of Forestry College, Ponnampet was among the lucky few, who had spotted a tiger during the census. Kaushal J Shah, Rahul Jain and Aditya Kumar Jayanth, who had come down from Mumbai for the survey, were also along with Mishra, when they spotted the tiger. Recounting their experiences, they described spotting the tiger as a “hair rising and memorable” event.
Kaushal Shah appreciated the discipline maintained in the survey. Elaborate arrangements have been made to ensure that the volunteers do not face any inconveniences, he said.
Mishra said that though only theory was taught in colleges, an experience in the wild is necessary to get more information about the bio-diversity around us.