Synchronised elephant count in South India begins on May 23

Experts opined that incessant rain could hamper the process as identifying dung sample could be a difficult as there is a high chance of dung getting dissolved.
Elephant image used for representational purposes only.
Elephant image used for representational purposes only. (Photo | Special Arrangement)

COIMBATORE : More than 1,000 forest staff and volunteers will be involved in a three-day synchronised elephant population estimation in 26 forest divisions across Tamil Nadu starting Thursday. 

According to sources, a total of 709 blocks have been divided for the three-day survey. On Wednesday, volunteers and forest staff were given a list of dos and don'ts.

According to sources, field-level staff have spotted several calves in herds during patrol, despite death of many elephants in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Coimbatore, Sathymangalam, and Nilgiris Forest Division and hope the population will be on an upward trend.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden Srinivas R Reddy  said "We hope to get the exact number of elephants and their distribution since the estimation is being done in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and parts of Andhra Pradesh.

Experts opined that incessant rain could hamper the process as identifying dung sample could be a difficult as there is a high chance of dung getting dissolved.  However, forest officials played it down.  D Venkatesh, Field Director of MTR and nodal officer for survey, said "Even if dung gets dissolved, we will be able to see traces in the transect line. If this is not possible, we will be able to estimate the elephants on the first and third day when direct sighting will be done."

"A total of 90 forest staff and 23 volunteers will be involved. A total of 24 blocks and 24 water holes have been earmarked for the estimation in MTR," he added.  

In Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) near Pollachi, no volunteers have been involved, and 34 blocks have been earmarked for estimation and a total of 102 staff will be involved.

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