Using the favourable conditions created by the absence of tourist traffic for the last one month in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) near here, its management has set in motion a prey base monitoring exercise.

The reserve has remained closed since April 10 due to dry conditions and consequent water scarcity.

Pointing out that the exercise commenced on Friday with a training session, Wildlife Ranger L. Sundararajan told The Hindu here on Saturday that it will go on till May 13. Stating that apart from wildlife officials about 30 volunteers from the Forest College and Research Institute, Mettupalayam are participating, he said that inter alia it involves transact line survey, carnivore sign survey, elephant dung count, pellet count, vegetation survey, and human interference survey. Stating that it was in accordance with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines, Mr. Sundararajan said that while tiger monitoring was done once a year, the prey base monitoring exercise takes place once before the South West Monsoon and once after.

The objective is to assess the health of the reserve vis a vis vegetation. At the end of the exercise the data would be compiled and documented.

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