Census is carried out in tiger reserves and sanctuaries twice a year

Nearly 1,000 persons including forest personnel, nature enthusiasts, environmentalists and members of Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) continued with the wildlife census in Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) for the second day on Friday.

The five-day census to enumerate the wildlife population in the 958 sq km area of ATR spread over six ranges of Pollachi, Ulandy, Manomboly, Valparai, Udumalpet and Amaravathy began with a training on Wednesday. The field level census commenced on Thursday.

Field Director of ATR, Rajiv K. Srivasatava, told The Hindu that the staff and other volunteers were divided into teams of three or four and involved in carrying out the census.

The personnel were trained and equipped with the latest state-of-the-art compass, Global Positioning System (GPS) and range finders.

According to him, the census is carried out in tiger reserves and sanctuaries twice a year (in January and in May).

Technical measures

During this year, finer technical measures were being used to carry out the census to ensure near accuracy of the data generated.

Though the focus was on tigers, the census would also enumerate the presence of elephants, leopards, Indian Gaur, sambar deer, spotted deer, barking deer and mouse deer besides civet cats.

The teams were also spotting and recording the presence of special and lesser known species including weeds and invasive species and there would be a special report on documenting these species.

Data

The personnel resorted to line transect twice a day and relied on direct count i.e., sighting and also on the indirect counting methods such as marks on tree barks, excrete, leftover prey and pug marks.

The data generated would help the ATR officials assess the health of the habitat and revisit the conservation, wildlife and forest management strategies, and strengthen them.