Synchronised jumbo census to begin in 4 states today (India)


New Indian Express

Date Published

BHUBANESWAR: The first-ever synchronised elephant census in eastern India will kick off in 44 elephant-inhabiting divisions of the State from Tuesday.
The Wildlife Wing of Forest and Environment Department has already put in place 1,949 census units to carry out the enumeration. The Bengaluru-based Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF), headed by eminent elephant expert Dr Raman Sukumar, will assist the Wildlife Wing in the entire exercise.

While this enumeration is part of the 7th All India Elephant Census under Project Elephant, it is for the first time Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal will conduct elephant enumeration simultaneously to eliminate duplication.These four States, one of the largest holders of elephants in India after South, witness regular migration of the jumbos which eventually leads to double counting. To arrive at an accurate estimation of the population, the four States agreed to participate in the national census. At least two high-level meetings of the senior officers of these States were held.
The synchronised elephant census will adopt both direct and indirect methods of enumeration. Under the Dung Decay method, which is an indirect and statistical method, the decay rate of dung is monitored to arrive at elephant numbers in specific pockets.

The direct methodology will entail direct sighting in forests and water holes in a line transect method. “Since Buddha Purnima, which falls on May 10, is the brightest night in the year, census is timed to accommodate the day. It will give an advantage to census teams in the nights when the jumbos venture out to water holes and rivers. Adequate number of machans have been created for this purpose at various points in the divisions,” sources in the Forest Department said.

This time, Wild Orissa is also actively associated with the synchronised census process. “During the census, critical information such as changes in elephant habitats due to human intervention, male-female ratio, population and reasons for man-animal conflicts will be ascertained,” secretary of Wild Orissa Monalisa Bhujabal said.

Bhujabal said elephant conservation has been threatened by shrinkage, degradation, fragmentation and resource exploitation by human activities leading to alteration of the extent and spatial configuration of their habitat and in a few cases restricting them into small pocketed herds in habitat islands. This has constricted the elephant herds into protected areas and a few intact forests surrounded by human-dominated landscape leading to increased human-elephant conflict.

Education and awareness programmes on ecology and behaviour of elephant and mitigation strategies should be initiated for villagers in affected areas, she added.

Mugger hunts Similipal cub

Bhubaneswar: The tiger cub, which was found dead in Upper Barahkamda range of Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR), was preyed upon by a huge mugger that inhabits the West Deo river, investigation has revealed. This is for the first time that a tiger killed by a crocodile has been reported from STR. In fact, instances of crocodile attacks on tigers is rare. In 2011, a tiger was attacked and killed in Sundarbans. Deputy Director of STR Dr Jagnya Dutta Pati said a sambar kill was recorded on April 27 at Tinadiha. Later, a tigress with three cubs were sighted at the spot. The big cats had fed on the sambar too. On May 4, about 20 metres from the site, the STR officials found the carcass of the cub which was about six to seven months old. “There was dragging marks which reveals that the mugger had captured the cub and taken it upstream. Our staff also found hair and bones further up on the river,” Pati told this paper. A dog squad was also pressed into the area for investigation. Later, Pati and Mayurbhanj Wildlife Warden Dr Kishore Kumar Mandal visited the spot. The carcass was disposed as per the standard protocol issued by National Tiger Conservation Authority. Former Wildlife Warden of Mayurbhanj Satya Narayan Das described the incident as rare in Similipal and said it is a matter cf concern too. The tigress along with its cub were captured on camera traps in January too.