By Shankar Bennur
The authorities of the Bandipur and Nagarahole tiger reserves are all set for the tiger census, which will commence on Wednesday.
Enumerators/volunteers will undergo training on Monday and Tuesday.
The tiger census is being conducted after a gap of four years. The last census pegged the number of tigers in Bandipur at 100, according to Director, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, H.C. Kantharaj.
Bandipur and Nagarahole, spread over a total area of 1,500 sq km, are considered to be one of the largest tiger habitats in India.
Mr. Kantharaj told The Hindu that 230 volunteers had been selected for the six-day census.
After the training, the volunteers would be sent to their respective camps for the census in around 100 beats. Two volunteers will be accompanied by a forest watcher/guard in each beat.
The tigers would be studied on the first three days and herbivores and vegetation on the remaining three days, he explained.
He said the tiger count would be done using two methods: direct and indirect. The direct method was tiger sighting, while pugmarks, scat and claw marks on trees would be studied under the indirect method.
The herbivores and vegetation would be studied to assess the availability of food and fodder for the animals.
Mr. Kantharaj said that more than 1,000 people had come forward to be part of the census in Bandipur. Around 360 were shortlisted and finally 230 people were selected.
The department had laid down several conditions for the volunteers such as participation on all eight days (including training).
The volunteers would stay in anti-poaching camps during the census. Bandipur had around 46 such camps. More....