The process of data collection about the presence of herbivores and locating signs of carnivores in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) here during phase-I of All India Tiger Estimation-2014 has been done by the Maharashtra forest department.
The survey was recently conducted in accordance with the guidelines of Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Chief Conservator of Forests and TATR Field Director Veerendra Tiwari said today.
"The Sign Encounter Rate Survey is a scientific exercise that provides field data, which in turn helps in monitoring tigers, co-predators, prey and their habitats. It also helps in monitoring number of tigers, change in their population, factors responsible for the change and also for better management of tiger habitats," Tiwari said.
The survey involved collection of scat samples, scrape/rake marks on tree trunks, pug marks, scent mark in case it is fresh, noting of vocalisation like roaring or growling, he said.
The data will be sent to WII, where it will be analysed through a specialised software for change in number of animals and their habitats and will be helpful in conservation activities in the long run, he said.
Besides, a 'Transit Line' survey was conducted between January 16 and 23 where in all, 55 transit lines were identified in 34 beats, in all the three ranges of TATR. Each of the beat is having 15 sq kms, as per the guidelines of WII. A distance of 2–2.5 kms was covered at least once during the survey, Tiwari said.
The entire survey is carried out on the assumption that the carnivores (tigers and leopards) have a tendency to use dirt roads, trails, footpaths, river beds and nullahs and hence collection of samples is focused on these trails.
The next exercise of camera trapping (to locate and record movement of animals) will commence from today and is likely to be completed by April 30, the forest official said.
Tadoba Andhari Reserve is the largest national park in Maharashtra having a total area of around 625.4 sq kms.
As per the last census, there are more than 43 tigers in the core area of TATR.