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Tiger Census from Jan 8, safari to be closed for a week

Deccan Herald
3 Jan 2018

The much-awaited tiger census will commence from January 8 and the safari will be closed during this period, from January 7 to 13.

The Forest department has advanced the census and closed safari to ensure that staffers are not strained and animals are not disturbed, said a forest official.

Also, for the first time the lone tiger residing in Banneraghatta National Park (BNP) will also be included in the census.

The staffers of BNP will also be trained for the census. However, this time there is little scope for volunteers as the department is keen to ensure that it is a serious business.

Also for the first time, the Forest department will be using M- Stripe app`s ecological feature to upload data and share it with National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

M- Stripe is an upgraded version of Karnataka`s Huli app. These apps are not available on Play Store.

Chief Conservator of Forests, Manoj Kumar, nodal officer for the census explained that M- Stripe has patrolling, ecological and conflict modules. Details of the census will be uploaded on the ecological module.

The app is not online. Ground staffers will take photos of carnivores, pug marks and other details with GPS coordinates on the app.

It will be stored on the backup file of the phone. At the end of the day, the data will be uploaded and sent to the nodal officer, who in turn will upload it to NTCA and WII.

Tiger deaths

Forest Minister B Ramanath Rai said that there are chances that the tiger population could have come down this time because of the number of deaths due to various reasons.

According to NTCA records, India lost 93 tigers in 2017, of which 12 were from Karnataka.

Last year 100 tigers died in India and 16 of them were from Karnataka.

Kumar said that though NTCA had given time to complete the training and census by February and August, Karnataka is keen to complete it by end of January, as dry seasons starts from February and the staff needs to concentrate on ensuring that there are no forest fires.

Camera traps are being increased inside the forests and added beyond tiger reserve boundaries.

Habitat quality, carnivore and mega herbivore (elephant and gaur) population will also be assessed across the landscapes, said Punati Sridhar, PCCF (Wildlife).