BANGALORE: After the successful tiger census last year, the forest department is now gearing up for an elephant census slated to be conducted during the second or third week of May.
The elephant census is being conducted once in five years. The last elephant census was conducted in 2007-08 in the state.
The Union government recently sent a circular to all the states to conduct the elephant census, both inside and outside the sanctuaries and national parks to know the elephant population across the country. No doubt, the elephant population has grown beyond imagination.
According to an estimate, there are nearly 4,000 to 6,000 elephants in the state’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
A meeting of Conservator of Forests and Deputy Conservator of Forests was held a few days ago to explain them the dos and dont’s of the proposed census.
Ajay Mishra, Chief Conservator of Forests, Project Elephant, Karnataka, told Express that the census will be conducted in three days with the assistance of officials of the forest departments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in Mysore Elephant Reserve in south Karnataka and Goa and Maharashtra in north Karnataka.
“The idea of conducting a joint census is to prevent duplication of numbers as the elephants cross boundaries in search of fodder and foliage. The convenient days for all the states will be worked out and the census will be conducted simultaneously in the entire south India,” he added.
Mishra said that three methods are followed in the census. The first method is direct method wherein the selected area is divided into different blocks of five sq km each.
The second method is Line Transit Dung Count in which the decomposition of dung is studied to ascertain the number of elephants.
This good old system reveals the total number of elephants in that particular herd.
The third method is waterhole count in which the census team will take pictures of the group. It will give a total picture of the number of adults, juveniles, calf, male and female pachyderms, he explained.