KURNOOL: The first phase census of the national animal tiger will be launched in the Nallamala forest on January 20. The counting of big cats will end on January 28. According to the forest officials, this time the census will be taken up with the help of trap cameras and other modern equipment in the Nagarjunasagar - Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) which will be a foolproof method. The tiger census is taken up once in every four years throughout the country. The nine-day census of tigers in the tiger reserve gains importance in this backdrop.
NSTR project field director S Saravanan said, “The first phase of census will be taken up in the name of All India Tiger Estimation 2018. We are taking up the tiger census with the help of forest rangers. Out of the 68 tigers spotted in Nallamala forest, about 30 tigers have been found in Atmakur division, according to an official estimate.”
The tiger population is counted by collecting tigers’ pugmarks taken on Plaster of Paris (PoP). This time, the census will be conducted using modern cameras which have been placed two metres above the ground. The stripes on the tiger will be scientifically assessed and analysed for counting the population accurately since the stripes of a tiger never match with that of another.
A two-day training programme for the forest staff in conduct of tiger census will be held at Nadapudumalai in Tamil Nadu on January 5 and 6. About 100 personnel, including forest divisional officers, to be deployed in Nallamala for the conduct of tiger census. The NSTR is spread over 5,937 km. The Nallamala forest is spread in Kurnool, Guntur and Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh and Mahbubnagar and Nalgonda districts in Telangana. The core area of tiger reserve is 2,444 km. There are 2,226 tigers in the country. Out of total, 68 tigers are found in Nallamala forest as per 2014 records, the officials said.