Elephant survey: Hassan faces a unique situation (India)


The Hindu

Date Published

Many pachyderms here are spread over either private estates or deemed forest area, unlike in other places

The Forest Department is all set to begin the four-day country-wide exercise of estimation of elephant numbers on Tuesday. However, for Hassan division, the process is somewhat unique.

Many pachyderms in this region are spread over either private estates or deemed forest area, unlike in other places. For an effective estimation of the elephant numbers here, the officers are left with no option but to include such areas to form blocks for estimation.

M.L. Manjunath, Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF), told The Hindu, “In this region, elephants can be found in coffee estates and private areas. We have to include them in our area for the estimation. Our officers are engaged in the task of identifying the blocks. Teams will be assigned on Tuesday.” Hassan, Alur, Belur, Eslur and Sakleshpur ranges will be covered in the estimation.

The exercise will begin with a preliminary training of the staff and volunteers on the first day. Depending on the number of blocks in each division, teams involving both volunteers and staff will be formed and allotted to each block.

On the second day, the teams will move around the respective blocks to take the count and the details of elephants spotted along with their GPS location.

The teams will take up dung count on the third day, while on the last day they will be allotted to places such as waterholes and salt lick points to record a direct count of the elephants and take photographs too.

A similar exercise will go in Chikkamagaluru division as well.

Chandranna, DCF, said 24 blocks have been identified in four ranges in the division. Along with the staff, 15 volunteers will be allotted to these blocks for the estimation. Bhadra Wildlife Division will also conduct the exercise.