Andhra Pradesh

A high-tech tiger census in Andhra Pradesh

Chenchus engaged as tiger trackers on the job in the Nallamala forest.   | Photo Credit: KommuriSrinivas

Amid signs of the proliferation of the big cats in Andhra Pradesh, the third phase of the fourth All-India Tiger Estimation (AITE) is being taken up in full swing in the vast tiger landscape spread over 3,728 sq. km. in the mighty Nallamala hills.

Indications are there that the big cats have also spread to the region south of the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) in the forest up to the Penna river, says Chief Conservator of Forests and Project Tiger Field Director S. Saravanan.

Maiden exercise

This is the maiden tiger estimation in the new State.

During the last estimation in the united State, the count was put at 68, four fewer than the figure arrived at during the second AITE in 2010 due to the biodiversity loss. It was 95 in the first AITE in 2006. “We expect the count to be at least 45 now,” Mr. Saravan told The Hindu after overseeing the installation of sophisticated cameras with infrared sensors.

These remote cameras put in pairs at every two-sq. km. grid would help not only identify the individual big cats through stripe pattern and other physical features but also arrive at their count in a more accurate manner.

“We have completed the AITE in two blocks and it will be continued in the third block from the second week of June. It will be done in the Papikonda region later to step up conservation efforts.”

The authorities have for the first time used a new app Tigers – Intensive Protection and Ecological Status (M-StrIPES) to avoid human error in the traditional recording of the pugmarks and other signs during the carnivore sign survey.

The department has engaged about 250 members of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) of Chenchus as trackers for protecting and monitoring the tigers.

They have been trained to handle the GPS-fitted equipment while moving in different directions from the base camp to capture evidence such as pug marks, droppings etc.

Vast data

The vast data collected by them is maintained and analysed for better conservation, adds Markapur Divisional Forest Officer B. Jayachandra Reddy.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 3:57:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/signs-of-proliferation-of-tigers-in-the-state/article23944519.ece

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