Study is held every four years and will be done in four phases
The All-India Tiger Estimation conducted once in four years will be held from January 8 to 13 in tiger reserves and wildlife forest divisions, and from January 22 to 27 in the territorial forest divisions of the State.
In view of the exercise, safaris in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries will be closed from January 7 to 13 when the carnivore and mega herbivore sign survey will be conducted.
The exercise will be held in four phases and the entire process is an eight-day protocol of which the sampling for the carnivore sign survey, ungulate abundance along the line transects and vegetation and human disturbance levels constitute the core of the entire procedure, according to Punati Sridhar, PCCF (Wildlife).
Manojkumar, Chief Conservator of Forests, who is the nodal officer for the tiger estimate exercise, told The Hindu that as per the tiger estimation schedule, training and field preparation besides mock drill commenced from January 1 and will be held till January 7.
“The carnivore and mega herbivore sign survey in tiger reserves and wildlife that includes the line transect survey, vegetation and human disturbance-levels survey, pellet counts, ungulate abundance etc., will be held from January 8 to 13 in the tiger reserves and wildlife forest divisions, and from January 22 to 27 in the territorial forest divisions,” said Mr. Manojkumar.
He said unlike in the past, the details will be entered in the mobile Android app ecological, prepared by the NTCA, and will minimise errors in data collection and tabulation. In view of the large number of vacancies filled by the government in the recent past, the authorities are doing away with volunteers for tiger census. “The DCFs at the local levels are free to deploy trained volunteers if required,” according to Mr. Manojkumar.
Karnataka numero uno here
Mr. Sridhar said Karnataka is the number 1 State in the country with 406 tigers as per the 2014 estimates and this could happen only with the dedication of the staff in effective protection and habitat improvement works. However, in the Western Ghats landscape, which includes tiger habitats spread across Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Goa, the tiger numbers were estimated to be in the range of a minimum of 685 and a maximum of 861, making it the highest in the country. Within this, the Bandipur-Nagarahole-Mudumalai-Wayanad complex held the world’s single-largest tiger population of around 575 and all the States had displayed an increase in tiger population within the landscapes.
What is significant this year is that the camera trap exercise as part of the Phase IV monitoring protocol, will entail placing cameras beyond the boundaries of the tiger reserves. Tiger presence has been observed in Brahamagiri, Virajpet, Sharavathi, Kudremukh etc., and these areas will be systematically monitored.