BENGALURU: AS part of the third phase of All India Tiger Estimation, 2018, counting of tigers through camera trapping method has taken off in the five tiger reserves of Karnataka. This time, camera traps have doubled and each grid will be of two square kilometres with a pair of camera traps. Forest officials said that a clear picture of the tiger population will emerge in the following months, as presently, compilation of the data obtained from Phase I of Sign and Line Transect Survey in tiger reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and territorial divisions is going on.
In the tiger reserves, the counting is being done by dividing it into two phases due to shortage of cameras. CCF and Nodal Officer of AITE, 2018 Manoj Kumar said, “We have installed cameras in Zone 1 based on tiger signs obtained during the Carnivore Sign Survey and it is for a period of 25 days. Later, these cameras will be removed and installed in Zone 2. This exercise will be completed in two months. After this, cameras will be installed in wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.” During the last Census, cameras were deployed in a grid of 4 sq kms but this time, the grid size has decreased to 2 sq kms.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, PCCF (Wildlife), Punati Sridhar said, “We know the number of tigers are more this time but we need to do an overall analysis for this. A clear picture will emerge after the camera trap analysis. We expect to get better results with more intensive trapping.” This is the first time, cameras will be installed in territorial divisions of the state that is outside the PA.
The Nodal Officer adds, “The recent sightings here have been good and has shown tiger presence. So, we will be installing cameras in these areas too. It is a year-long exercise. We haven’t received any funding for deployment of cameras.” According to Wildlife Institute of India, in 2014, 70 per cent of the estimated tiger population was through the method of camera trapping where photos of 1,686 individual tigers were obtained. The remaining 30 per cent of the tigers from the tiger areas that were not camera trapped were estimated by using models in Spatially Explicit Capture-Recapture where ecological co-variates of prey, habitat and human impact along with movement parameter of tigers, were used in a joint likelihood framework.
TRAPPING IN BANDIPUR The camera trapping exercise began on the January 25 in Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Presently, the reserve has 630 cameras, so the trapping is going on in the five ranges of Kundukere, Bandipur, G S Betta, Maddur and Moolehole. Ambady Madhav, Director of the reserve added, “Since there is a shortage of cameras, we are deploying them in two phases. In the first phase, 560 cameras have been placed while for the second phase, these cameras will be shifted and installed in a week’s time in the remaining ranges of Bandipur.”