1,200 camera traps to be used in Uttarakhand for third phase of tiger estimation
The third phase of the All India Tiger estimation will begin this week after the field survey for the first phase is over. The second phase of the estimation comprises satellite imagery.
In the latest estimation, the number of tigers in the state will be estimated by camera traps and satellite imagery.
Dhananjai Mohan, additional principal chief conservator of forest (APCCF) and the nodal officer of the estimation project, said that 1,200 camera traps are being used for the third phase in which three blocks would be covered. “Each block takes around a month and employs 1,200 cameras. After finishing one block, the cameras are fixed in the next for tiger estimation,” said Mohan.
After souring the data, it would be analysed at the Wildlife Institute of India, in Dehradun, where the entire exercise may take around five months before the figures of the tiger estimation can be released.
According to the All India Tiger Estimation (census) in 2014, there are 340 tigers in Uttarakhand. In 2015-2016, a survey was done in the territorial areas outside the tiger reserves and it was said that a large number of tigers were spotted in the forests adjoining Haldwani, which would take the number of tigers in the state to above 400.
The pan-India estimation, held every four years, will be carried out in 18 states of the country.
The tiger estimate is based on data assimilated through camera traps and scat collection — the latter being used for DNA-based estimation. As per the officials involved in the process, the photographs obtained from camera traps are fed into a “population size estimator” software, which, based on the field conditions of the terrain involved, gives different estimations of the population size.
The last All India Tiger Estimation in 2014 had covered 473,580 sq km of forests, including 44 tiger reserves, in 18 states. The ongoing census will cover 50 tiger reserves and it is expected that the preliminary findings will become available by May this year. The ongoing survey will also cover new terrain in Uttarakhand after the big cats were discovered in 2016 beyond 3,000 metres altitude in the Kedarnath (Chamoli and Rudraprayag district) and Askot wildlife sanctuaries (Pithoragarh district).