By Harish Murali
TRICHY: The annual wildlife census in areas falling under the Trichy Forest Division is all set to begin from next week.
Forest officials are already in the process of roping in wildlife enthusiasts and student volunteers for the month-long operation. Census will be carried out in four forest ranges across 45,272 hectares falling under the division. Environmentalists expressed hope that the number of wildlife would be on the rise than last year.
According to the last year data obtained from the forest department, 147 bonnet monkeys, 20 Indian gaurs, 26 hares, 41 spotted deer and 33 wild boars were spotted, said a forest official.
In all, 267 animals were spotted and 500 were estimated to live in the reserved forests.
Forest rangers in the district expect that the numbers to go up this year as there was no drought, famine and forest fire. Except for minor incidents, no major poaching complaints were recorded in the division, a forest official said.
A senior forest official attached to the Trichy divisional office said, "Preliminary work for the census has already begun with the encounter method already underway. Direct sightings are recorded under the encounter method." He said experts have been roped in to make the land survey and the boundaries have been marked for the officials to track the animals.
S Ramesh, an ecologist involved in several wildlife surveys, said climate change plays a major factor in the growth and migration of animals from forests. It is high time forest officials keep a check on it, he added.
As per an order from the central government, forest officials recently went on an intensive survey to take a census on wild boars. As per the survey, 59 wild boars live in the Trichy Forest Division.