Fourth all India Tiger estimation has began in the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve.
Appliances and apps being used
Android phones and a new app are being used by forest officials to collect field data for digital enumeration.The app, Monitoring System for Tigers – Intensive Protection and Ecological Status (M-StrIPES) is being used for the first time to avoid human error involved in the traditional recording of the pugmarks and other signs.
The field data collection exercise is being done by the forest personnel now in grids of 2 sq. km. each, as against 4 sq. km. earlier, for more accuracy.The exercise is also to enumerate the number of panthers, bears and wild dogs in the tiger landscape spread over 3,728 sq. km. including a core area of 1,251 sq. km, and a buffer zone of 1,283 sq. km, he said.The officials hitherto have been collecting data manually in the Performa on paper, which is prone to human errors.
Carnivore sign survey
The new app is used for the carnivore sign survey and transects marking to record details such as pellet density, vegetation status, etc.The carnivore estimation for three days will be followed by herbivore estimation for another three days to ascertain whether the reserve has enough prey for the big cats to flourish.After compilation of the figures in two phases, the fourth phase of the survey of collective evidence through camera traps will be taken up in March/April this year.
Different methods for Tiger Census are:
1. Pugmark technique:
It has been one of the most popular ways of counting tigers. Each tiger is known to leave a distinct pugmark on the ground and these are different from the others in the big cat family. Photographs or plaster casts of these pugmarks are then analysed to assess the tiger numbers.
2. Installation of cameras:
Cameras could be left in dense forests for several days to capture images of individual tigers.
3. Double-sampling method:
This is the new method adopted by Wildlife Institute of India in Tiger Census, 2015. The first stage involved ground survey by the forest department. Under this, forest department staff collected evidences of tiger presence such as pugmarks, scat, scratches on trees or other such unmistakable signs of tiger presence.The next stage involved camera trapping. Based on the ground surveys, locations are chosen for installing cameras.These cameras are heat and motion sensitive. They lie idle till they detect any motion or a sudden change in temperature which means, these capture just anything that moves like other animals and even birds.Each tiger is known to have a very unique stripe pattern which is used to differentiate one tiger from the other.
Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve
It spreads over Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar and is the largest Tiger reserve in the country and covers a total area of about 3,568 square kms. The Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Sanctuary was declared officially in the year 1978 and has been recognized by the Project Tiger in the year 1983. This Reserve has been renamed as the Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary in the year 1992. It is situated in the deciduous Nallamala forests with the mystifying landscape of the lofty hills and echoing valleys, exciting winding roads, perennial rivers.It is this most charismatic world of the wild cats. The mighty River Krishna which rises in Sahyadri Hills and makes its way through Maharashtra and Karnataka flows across Nallamala tiger reserve.