COINBATORE: A three-day synchronised National Elephant Census will be held in six states from May 22. The states are Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Maharashtra. Subsequently, the census will be conducted throughout the country, according to a directive issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
Unlike Elephant Reserve Census, where enumeration is restricted to counting of the animals in reserve forests, the synchronised census will be conducted in forest, non-forest, reserve and non-reserve forest areas (landscape-wise). This is being done after five years.
A preparatory exercise was conducted for senior officers of the Forest Department ahead of the survey by Dr Raman Sukumar, an elephant expert.
Three methods will be used this year - block count, line transect dung count and waterhole count. All are safe and scientific. Sukumar said, “We plan to do the sample-block count on the first day. “On the second day, we will analyse the scats. The officials have to be well-equipped to understand the frequency of pachyderms scatting and the decay rate of the scat,” he said. “On the third day, waterhole manning is undertaken,” he explained. A grassroots-level worker, N Mohanraj, coordinator, WWF, explained that as a last resort the structure of population, the DNA analysis of the scat could also be carried out.
The focus will be on estimating the elephant population in a particular season (with statistical confidence limits); number of jumbos in broad age groups; ratio of males to females in respect of adult and sub-adult categories and the number of tuskers in respect of adult and sub-adult categories, Dr Raman added.