December 15, 2016
A seven-day winter wildlife census began at the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) here on Thursday.
The survey, which began with an orientation programme at Attakatti from where volunteers and Forest Department personnel were sent to the respective beats, will conclude on 22 December.
“The volunteers were informed about the differences in pug marks, scratch marks and rake marks of carnivores and about identification of all species in general,” said an official.
The objective of the survey was to ascertain the prey base of the tiger, which is the dominant predator in the reserve, and other carnivores, according to officials.
Volunteers, including college students and members of NGOs, are participating in the census along with the field staff of the Forest Department. More than 200 participants are involved in the census.
While the volunteers will be involved in the carnivore sign survey to ascertain the population of tigers, leopards, sloth bears and dholes (wild dogs) from 16 to 18 December, they will involve in ascertaining the prey base of carnivores from 19 to 21 December.
The volunteers have been advised to take dry clothing as the weather was damp.
According to sources, the reserve has a population of more than 20 tigers, 1,400 deer, 800 elephants, 1,500 Indian gaurs and 6,000 sambhar deer in its 1,479 sq.km area. The reserve has its boundaries in Coimbatore, Tirupur and Dindigul.
The data will be sent to the Project Tiger team in Delhi, which would suggest necessary measures based on the rise and fall of the number of species in the reserve.
The reserve will be closed for tourists until the census is completed.