Cold has no benumbing effect on tiger number counters

Big cat mostly elusive on Day 1 of census 'due to thick vegetation'

Cold has no benumbing effect on tiger number counters

The enthusiasm was evident in the fact that those taking part in the exercise were on the field as early as 6 am. They hit the ground running, taking readings as part of the carnivore and mega herbivore sign survey. As many as 251 volunteers are taking part, despite the short notice of merely a week, no advertising by the forest department and the fact that the census was being held on week days. Many have taken leave from work or college and some have foregone their salary, to be part of the survey.  

A total of 1,003 forest department staffers have joined hands in the mega exercise to count the big cats and other animals.

Certified volunteers from the Karnataka Eco-tourism Board are also part of the census. The department has roped in 45 trainee range forest officers for the census. Students from the Forestry College, Ponnampet, Kodagu district will participate from Tuesday.  

"I changed my profession so that I can be a part of the census and do my bit for conservation,"   said Animesh Das, a former software professional. He had participated in the recent elephant census too. He was at the Bannerghatta National Park on Monday.

Kishor N, a 19-year-old BCA student, said, "This is my first time and I am very excited. I am making notes and taking videos". An animal enthusiast from New York, who had come to Bengaluru on a holiday, is volunteering at the Nagarhole tiger reserve for the census.

The census is on at Kali, Bandipur, Bhadra, BRT and Nagarhole tiger reserves. It was also conducted in Kudremukh National Park and Pushpagiri, Bramhagiri and Talacauvery wildlife sanctuaries, said Chief Conservator of Forests Manoj Kumar, the nodal officer.

He said it was for the first time that M-Stripes mobile app was being used for the census and so, there were technical glitches in some places.

Since monsoon was late and prolonged, the vegetation is rich and this affected the direct sightings. No tiger was directly sighted by the volunteers in Bandipur. However, a mother with 2 cubs was sighted in Nagarahole. One direct sighting was reported in Kali reserve.

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