Elephant census begins in border areas from May 23

According to Nagarahole Tiger Reserve field director Harshakumar Chikkanaragund, the census consists of three phases.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.(File photo | S Udayshankar)

MYSURU: In response to the increasing human-elephant conflict in the border areas of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, an inter-state coordination committee has initiated a Synchronized Elephant Population Estimation Exercise from May 23 to 25. This effort aims at preventing human-elephant conflicts and develop management strategies.

According to Nagarahole Tiger Reserve field director Harshakumar Chikkanaragund, the census consists of three phases. On May 23, block sampling will be held. Sampling blocks of five sq km will be created. Teams of three personnel will patrol at least 15-km on foot, recording data on elephants observed directly, including group size, sex (males, females, makhna elephants), age categories (adult, juvenile, calf), and other relevant information.

The second day on May 24, Line Transect activity will be held. A 2-km transect will start at 6 am. During this walk, elephants’ dung and footprints will be recorded on both sides. On the last day on May 25, the water hole count will be held. The staff will monitor selected lakes from 6am to 6pm, recording and photographing elephants that visit these water sources.

“The Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, which spans Mysuru and Kodagu districts and is the state’s most elephant-rich area, has already conducted 15 days of camera trapping to collect data. Over 300 personnel from 91 patrols in the reserve will participate in the census, with at least one trained staff member in each patrol. This effort will help determine the sex ratio of elephants and identify high-density areas, which are crucial for preventing human-elephant conflicts and developing effective management strategies,” he said.

Survey in 10 forest divisions in K’taka

The exercise will be conducted in 10 forest divisions of Karnataka, located on the interstate boundary with Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The divisions in which the exercise will be conducted are Kolar, Cauvery Wildlife, MM Hills Wildlife, BRT Tiger Reserve, Bannerghatta National Park, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, Madikeri Territorial, Madikeri Wildlife and Virajpet. This includes 65 forest ranges and 563 beats.

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The New Indian Express