The forest departments in Uttarakhand and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh are gearing up to count the elephants in their respective territories as part of national census beginning May 23. The census will continue till May 27. Field staff in both states is being trained in the methodology that will be used during the census.
In the Himalayan state, there are nearly 40 forest divisions besides protected areas that have flourishing elephant population. As per the records, the state had 1,797 elephants during a count done in 2015.
Currently, the field staff is being trained about the analysis that will be done during five days of census. “The census would be crisp and precise for which we need the staff to be fully trained. We are teaching them of transits, how blocks will be decided, and how analysis of dung would be done,” Sanatan Sonkar, director Rajaji told Hindustan Times.
Rajaji reported 309 elephants during the last count. In fact, an orientation workshop for UP and Uttarakhand officials was also organized in April to discuss various details of the census.
Some forest divisions do not have a continuous spread of elephants. Thus engaging staff for census work in such pockets would be a waste, officials said. “We are identifying areas that have limited or no records of elephant presence. This would help us strategise the census,” Sinkar added.
Meanwhile, in Uttar Pradesh the census will largely focus on border areas of Nepal as well as Uttarakhand. There are roughly 169 elephants in the state.