Spot-the-big-cat treasure hunt begins
TNN, 23 January 2010, 03:50am IST
BANGALORE: It was perhaps the luckiest day for a number of wildlife enthusiasts as they were in the thick of tiger territory in several forests of the state.
Five groups of census-recording teams spotted three tigers and two leopards in Nagarahole, two tigers in BRT Sanctuary and one in Bandipur Tiger Reserve on the first day of the National Tiger Census in Karnataka.
Teams at BRT, Bhadra, Bandipur and Dandeli came across a number of signs, including pugmarks and scat on their trails.
The additional principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) B K Singh, who was participating in the census on the Dandeli trails, found evidence of leopards, wild dogs and tigers. "The Karnataka census has started in a big way and on a good note, specially with so many groups spotting tigers. There are around 40 volunteers in Dandeli. I have already walked around 15 km and am a little tired. I am doing trails in Dharwad, Haliyal and Dandeli," he told TOI.
All the recorded data will be collated and sent to the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun in a couple of months. The WII has told the department that camera traps will be set up in representative spots at Bandipur, Nagarahole, BRT, Kudremukh, Dandeli and Bhadra that will help verify records given by the forest department after this census.
* The national census of tigers, co-predators, prey and their habitats is scheduled across the state in all forest areas from January 22 to 27. This year, the census will be different with very high interface between general public or enthusiasts and the forest department. Two to three enthusiasts are going to accompany forest guards in their trails.