A large number of volunteers are expected to take part in the census works

Officials are gearing up for the conduct of a census by the National Tiger Conservation Authority scheduled to begin on December 16.

Field Director of Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Rajiv K. Srivasatava, told The Hindu that more than 400 people, including 180 forest staff, would be involved in the census works covering 958 sq km of forest area spread over Valparai, Manomboly, Udumalpet, Pollachi, and Amaravathy.

Mr. Srivastava said that the census was being simultaneously held in all forest areas including Kodaikanal hills, Maraiyur, Chinnar, and Parambikulam to ensure accuracy. The line-transect method would be used for the purpose. The census would include carnivore science survey primarily aimed at sighting tigers, vegetation survey, and herbivore survey.

Officials would use data from camera traps, and habitat analysis. Indirect count methods would include checking pug marks, scratches on the soil, tree barks, and scat. Volunteers taking part in the census would be given orientation on using maps, view finders and compass.

Equal importance would be given to recording the sightings of lesser known species.

Coimbatore District Forest Officer M. Senthilkumar said that about 350 people, including staff and volunteers, would conduct the census in Booluvampatti, Coimbatore, Periyanaickenpalayam, Karamadai, Sirumugai, and Mettupalayam.

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