Second phase of tiger census in Feb

BTR faces a shortage of cameras; trying to mobilise equipment

The second phase of tiger census, involving camera-traps will most likely be launched in February. However, with the Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR) facing a shortage of cameras, necessary for the census, it might have to look for aid from sponsors or borrow cameras from Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Nagarahole, to complete the survey process.

The survey is being jointly taken up by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Wildlife Institute of India and Department of Forests.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Chief Conservator of Forests and Director of BTR H C Kantharaju said, BTR currently possessed only 64 cameras, while the total number of cameras required to be placed at key points of the reserve was 364.

Phases

“We hope to have at least 180 cameras for the survey. Recently, we have received an approval to buy 36 cameras, which will take the total number of cameras available with the BTR to 100,” he said.

BTR is also looking for some NGO sponsors, so as to have 180 cameras and complete the camera-trap census in two phases.

Borrow

We are exploring the idea of borrowing cameras available at Nagarahole, for the census here, he said.

“We had sought funds from NTCA for additional cameras. But, since NTCA could not release additional funds this year, it has asked us to include cameras in BTRs action plan for the next financial year,” he said.


He said, the Rajiv Gandhi National Park recently received 200 cameras from a sponsor, which might be borrowed for the census at BTR.

“We are trying to mobilise as many cameras as possible for the enumeration exercise,” he added.

Camera trap

Camera traps are efficient tools to gauge the population of animals in a forest. Camera traps, with an infrared trigger, captures images of animals, as they pass between the camera and the trigger.

Cameras will be set up for a period of 45 days, at points identified by the authorities of the BRT.

The data will be collated with the data collected during the first phase of the census. The first phase of the census, which involved volunteers from across the country, concluded on December 24.

Authorities at Nagarahole are yet to fix a date to begin the camera-trap owing to ‘fire season’, with the onset of summer. As the officials are involved in setting up fire traps, Director of Rajiv Gandhi National Park R Gokul said, the census is likely to start after the fire season.

Compensation

Families of four persons, mauled to death in incidents involving two different tigers in December, have received an additional compensation of Rs 1 lakh from the Prime Minister’s fund.

Kantharaju said, the additional compensation has been granted following an appeal made by MP R Dhruvanarayan.

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