WLI to start fresh tiger census in UP
TNN 17 September 2009, 05:50am IST
LUCKNOW: Heated controversy over the dwindling numbers of tigers in Dudhwa will shortly be put to rest, The Wildlife Institute of India is preparing to commence a new tiger census in Uttar Pradesh to make a correct assessment of the big cat family. The exercise is expected to be a collaborative venture between the WLI, The National Tiger Conservation Authority of India and the Uttar Pradesh government, chief conservator of forest BK Patnaik told TOI on Wednesday.
The exercise to be followed this year will be three-phased, Patnaik said. The first phase will consist of an extensive habitat monitoring plan and also sampling of the grid line. The total area marked for the Park and the reserve forest shall be stratified as low tiger density, medium/ high density or no tiger area on the basis of sings of the pray base and predators spotted during the survey, he said.
The second phase will consist of head count made on the basis of camera trap technique. The institute will be fixing the camera trap on the chosen sight, he said although the experts are still fine-tuning the modalities. There are indications that the Wildlife Institute may involve a few NGOs also in the exercise, Patnaik said.
In October, the institute plans to run a training course for training the trainers in conducting the tiger survey. The venue of the training, he said, are Corbett Park in Uttarakhand and also Kanaha National Park, Madhya Pradesh. The state forest department, he said, would be sending its delegates to the Corbett for training.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority shall be providing the monitory assistance for the project, Patnaik said. The role of the state will largely relate to collection of the data base. The training camps in the Corbett have been prepared with the module in mind. Finally, the analysis of the data bank prepared by the state forest cadre will be carried out by the Wildlife Institute.
Significantly, this could mean an end to the state government census which had lost its credibility over the past few years after the wildlife enthusiasts accused the department of giving fudged figures. The comprehensive survey by the expert agency officials feel will portray the right picture and shall allay skeptics suspicion as well.