The wildlife wing of the State Forest Department will organise a six-day integrated census in co-ordination with the Kerala Forest Department authorities, beginning this Saturday.

Originally the Department planned for an eight-day census programme from February 6 to 13, which has now been reduced to six days.

The census would be conducted in all the forest ranges in the State including the three tiger reserves namely, Kalakkad – Mundanthurai in Tirunelveli, Topslip in Pollachi and Mudumalai in The Nilgiris.

Carnivore sign survey, prey-base encounter rate, data on vegetation and anthropogenic pressures on the forest cover would be enumerated during the census. In order to sensitise officials a training programme was conducted in January in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in The Nilgiris in which officials in the rank of Deputy Conservator of Forests, Assistant Conservator of Forests and Forest Rangers were provided training by a team of officials from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehra Dun.

A senior officer from the Wildlife Wing of the State Forest Department said originally it was planned to conduct the census during the first week of February. But, as the three tiger reserves in the State were bordering with the Kerala Forests, it was decided to do the census in co-ordination with them, he said.

The integrated census would be the first phase and the collected data would be sent to the WII. A team of researchers would verify it. The process would culminate in setting up camera traps in the tiger reserves in the State to identify the number of tigers found in the State, the officer added.