BENGALURU: Over 1,600 elephants are wandering in and around Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR), as per an internal survey conducted by forest officials of the reserve. The survey was conducted during the lockdown and unlock period for four months, starting April. The officials followed all the protocols used when the all-India elephant census is carried out. This is the first time that an internal survey has been conducted by a team for a particular forest. As per the last all-India survey, there are 8,500 jumbos in Karnataka.
“The survey was done for two days every month for four months. It was done to understand the species, the forest area and get data on how to improve the habitat,” T Balachandra, BTR director, told TNIE. The department is taking the help of retired biologists to analyse the data. Officials and staffers from the Mysuru forest division were also involved in the exercise. The officials stated that it helped in improving supervision on ground.
“As a director, I am keen to know the area for better management. If the forest staffers know the number of jumbos and congregation points, we can manage them better. We found that there is a need to strengthen the vegetation infrastructure rather than concrete infrastructure. Preliminary information has shown than that there are over 1,600 elephants in the reserve. A final assessment report will be ready in another 20 days,” he added.