Tiger census in PTR: Field survey complete, numbers to be declared in May
Almost two months after it began, the field survey for the tiger census in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) was completed by forest officials. The exercise primarily included collection of pictures of big cats from camera traps.Updated: Mar 13, 2019 13:16 IST
Almost two months after it began, the field survey for the tiger census in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) was completed by forest officials on Tuesday. The exercise primarily included collection of pictures of big cats from camera traps.
“The pictures and other data collected in the survey have been sent to experts at National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for examination and procedural census,” said Adarsh Kumar, divisional forest officer (DFO), PTR.
- It has a camera part to take pictures and sensor part, which gives it a cue to take a photo. Infrared or motion sensors are installed to give the cue.
- The cameras are weather proof with high capacity battery.
- They are installed in areas, which are believed to be frequented by tigers.
- The camera takes a picture every time an animal passes in front of it.
The exercise was initiated in January this year to ascertain the total number of big cats in the forest area. As many as 584 camera traps were placed across the forest area to collect pictures of tigers in the forest.
“Camera traps were placed in Mala, Barahi, Mahof, Haripur and Neuria ranges of the PTR for the census. Three teams headed by wildlife inspectors under supervision of senior experts were deployed for the exercise,” said the DFO.
Located near the Indo-Nepal border in Pilibhit district, PTR is one of the newest tiger reserves in the country.
According to the initial census conducted by the forest department in 2014 – the year of PTR’s inception- 24 tigers were said to be present there. The number went up to 44 in 2015-2016 census conducted locally with the help of animal welfare groups.
The current census will be the second official tiger census conducted in the reserve.
No census was undertaken by the forest department in 2016-2017, which saw the maximum number of human deaths in tiger attacks this decade.
At least 17 people were killed between November 2016 and December 2017.
Reportedly, the current census will conclude in May, with the declaration of details about tiger population in the PTR.
“The analysis of pictures collected from the cameras takes time because every photo is examined closely to identify individual tigers,” explained the DFO.
Apart from the ecological importance of tigers, ascertaining their exact number would also help officials draw up future plans for conservation of big cats,” he said.