Tiger census put off due to elections
NAGPUR, Thursday 2nd February 2012

Owing to multiple reasons, the annual tiger estimation exercise to be taken up in four tiger reserves, national parks and sanctuaries has been rescheduled. The eight-day exercise, which was to be held from February 2 to 7, will now be held from February 10 to 17. A fresh schedule was issued by the PCCF (wildlife) office on Tuesday. "Officials concerned sought some time to procure essential material like cameras and rangefinders needed to conduct the census exercise. Hence, the date has been rescheduled," said SK Khetarpal, the principal chief conservator of forests for wildlife. Khetarpal added that another problem was about the zilla parishad elections on February 7. Absence of forest staff on poll duty might affect census work. "By postponing the exercise, we might be able to do it in a better way," he added. The NTCA is yet to release funds for the census exercise. "We expect it in a day or two. We also want to sign an MOU with the NTCA. All this will be completed before February 10," said Khetarpal. The PCCF said the fourth phase will help know tiger numbers in each reserve with the help of mark recapture based camera traps. The cameras will be two-sided and placed at 4 sq km each for 45-60 days i.e. 1,000 nights. After the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) adopted the new tiger census methodology in 2006, figures of individual tiger reserves have not been declared. The numbers included estimation of a protected area (PA) and its entire landscape.