Enumeration of Elephants in ATR Using New Method (India)


By Express News Service

Date Published
COIMBATORE: An indirect enumeration of the elephant population in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) will be conducted through the ‘synchronised dung-decay rate’ method from May 1.
The results will enable the Forest Department to find why elephants are coming out of the forests. It will also help them asses whether people have encroached on elephant corridors, sources said.
Staff in all six forest ranges in the ATR will be involved in the enumeration. On day one, foresters, guards and anti-poaching watchers will mark fresh (under 24 hours old) elephant dung in the forests. They will also take the GPS reading of the spots where dung has been marked and also take photographs.
Fresh dung samples will also be taken from 15 places across the six ranges the first day itself. The reserve has been divided into 15 sections to facilitate the process.
The process will be done seven times over 140 days to check whether the dung has disappeared or is in tact.
The Forest Department will get a clear picture of the elephant distribution in the reserve from the process. “We are counting the number of elephants through the ‘synchronised dung-decay rate method’. This is the first time that we are doing it exclusively for elephants,” said ATR Field Director V T Kandhasamy.
Under the earlier method of counting wild elephants, chances of duplication were high. The dung-decay method gives accurate results.