TIRUCHY: Conservation and preservation efforts in the four Reserved Forest ranges in the district have yielded rich dividends, reveals the wildlife census carried out by the forest department this year. While the number of mammals has taken a leap, the icing on the cake is provided by the fact that the officials arrived at the numbers after direct sightings.
The census, carried out to pinpoint the overall ecological density of animals in the four forest ranges spread across 45,272 hectares in the Tiruchy Forest Division, reveals that there are 1,094 mammals in the area. This is in stark contrast to the 267 direct sightings made last year. The officials then had pegged the animal numbers around 500 based on evidence.
The district forest officials, in collaboration with NGOs and volunteers, mostly college students, embarked on the ambitious drive and completed the census around a week ago. The team of 47 members sifted through the Tiruchy, Manapparai, Thuvarankurichi and Thuraiyur ranges and noted down the direct sightings. Increased number of spotting had led the forest rangers to believe that number of other animals and birds, including deer, peacock, black nape hares and spotted deer, too had seen a northward curve.
Dr S Murugan, Assistant Conservator of Forest, Tiruchy Division, said, “The census is of paramount importance, as it reveals the actual numbers and helps officials arrive at a studied estimation of wildlife in the forest ranges. The census would also pave the way for setting up zoos and rehabilitation centres for animals in accordance with the numbers.”
While this year’s census reveals a jump in numbers in comparison to last year’s, sources said this could be primarily due to the officials relying on experimental and circumstantial evidence last year than on direct sightings. Meanwhile, Dr A Kumaraguru, Conservation Scientist at Biodiversity Conservation Foundation in Tiruchy, told Express that they had not conducted this survey on circumstantial evidence.
“The numbers arrived at are from direct sightings by a team of 47, including wildlife experts,” he said.