Tiger Census in India begins! Fingers crossed!
The tiger census in the forests of four southern states will be held in five stages between October to December. The census of big cats is held once in four years in all the tiger reserves across the country.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) G S Prabhu told Express that the purpose of selecting these three months from October is because of greenery across the forests, which is an ideal time to take up the census.
Once the rain stops, dry spell begins in December. The tigers go deep into the forest regions or migrate to neighbouring states in search of food.
In the first stage of census, footprints, hoot marks and dropping of big cats are collected.
In the second stage, biologists use camera trapping to record density of prey and predators.
While the four stages are mostly about cross verification and data entry the fourth stage is data analysis and preparation of report.
“The final findings will be submitted to the Union government for the compilation of all the reports in December 2014,” said Prabhu.
Five to six personnel from each division of tiger reserves will be selected for training at Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, which starts from the second week of October.
It is basically a training for trainers and those trained would train the other staff.
In Karnataka, the census will be taken up in Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, Bhadra Tiger Reserve, Anshi-Dandeli Tiger Reserve, BRT and Kudremukh Tiger Reserve.
“The number of forest personnel to be involved in this census operation will be known by next month,” said Prabhu.
Public to be involved
The members of non-government organisations (NGOs) and wildlife enthusiasts would also be involved in this census after they receive the basic training.
They will accompany trained forest personnel and will spot tigers in forests.
The census will be conducted with the involvement of both the civil society and the Forest Department to ensure transparency.
“It will be a lifetime opportunity for animal lovers to be a part of this census,” Prabhu added.
“The department will notify notes soon so that wildlife enthusiasts can contact forest officers and register their names well in advance,” he added .