Wednesday, January 18, 2006

TIGER CENSUS IN KOLLEGAL DIVISION: VOLUNTEERS INVITED

TIGER CENSUS IN KOLLEGAL DIVISION: VOLUNTEERS INVITED

Mysore, Jan. 18 (MA)- As part of the national programme to carry out tiger and its prey species census, the Kollegal Division is taking up the census programme from Jan. 21 to Jan. 26. The Government of Karnataka has issued instruction to carry out the scientifically re-commended tiger census programme to be conducted between Jan. 16 and Jan. 31 and accordingly, Kollegal Division (and Chamarajanagar Circle) will take up the census operation between Jan. 21 and Jan. 26.

Kumar Pushkar, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Kollegal Division, has stated in a press release that the census this year is different from the previous years, where they used to count only the number of tigers, based on pug marks. This year, it has been decided, that along with tiger, density estimation for other carnivores and prey species shall also be done, to understand the habitat richness and its suitability to support the existence of tigers, he said.

One transect line (straight line) of about 3-4 kms shall be traversed 3 times, on 3 days, to estimate the presence of herbivores, ungulates and other carnivores, in each of the beats. Also, in the same beat, 15 kms of walking trails (footpath, roads, stream / sand beds etc.) shall be traversed, to identify the signs and trails of presence of tiger, like presence of pug marks, scats (fecal drops), scratches, rakings on trees, vocalisation or direct sightings.

Kollegal Division has sought the help of interested people and volunteers to participate in the census programme and have first hand experience of this scientific technique.

Volunteers, who are interested, may contact the officers of Assistant Conservator of Forests at Hanur or M.M. Hills or Gundlupet and enroll their names, on first-cum-first-serve basis before Jan. 19. A maximum of 40 volunteers will be accommodated. They should be physically fit and above 18 years of age. To screen out non-serious participants and also to provide food and stay, volunteers will have to deposit Rs. 50 per head for a day at the time of enrollment. Enrolled volunteers should report to the Asst. Conservator of Forests office on the previous evening of the census date, opted by them.

Since the census is being done in elephant terrain, the volunteers are being advised to be mentally and physically prepared to face the challenge, Pushkar said.

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