COIMBATORE: For the first time, Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) officials are planning to enumerate Lion-Tailed Macaque (LTM), an endangered species found exclusively in the Western Ghats, in three forest ranges of Pollachi Forest Division.
On Saturday, a sensitisation programme on the same was conducted for the frontline staff at Attakatti training centre near Valparai.
Sources in the Forest Department said that the Pollachi Forest Division has four forest ranges -- Valparai, Manampalli, Ulanthy and Pollachi. Once the rains recede in the region, the census would be undertaken in 15 forest beats of the high-altitude ranges, except Pollachi, inhabited by LTMs. The enumeration works would be conducted with the help of Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) researchers, who are already studying about LTM at Puduthottam in Valparai, in the upcoming weeks.
Speaking to TNIE, Assistant Conservator of Forest, ATR, Selvam said that for the first time, the department has collaborated with the NCF to undertake a census of LTM in the region using direct count method. The data collected by the NCF researchers would be corroborated with that if the frontline staff.
“We have identified the LTM zone in the ATR and started preliminary works for conducting the census. The presence of human and development of estates has caused the animal to be threatened by habitat fragmentation.
In the last two decades, LTM’s food habits changed drastically, especially after tourists started feeding the animals. For over a couple of years, the animal has been venturing into houses of Valparai town in search of food,” sources said. Researcher Ashni Dhawale told TNIE that she has spotted 190 LTMs in Pututhottam area in a census she undertook during July.