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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tiger census begins in Nallamala

TNN | Apr 19, 2012, 01.47AM IST HYDERABAD: Amidst growing concerns over the dwindling tiger population in the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) and calls for initiating more conservation measures to increase the population of the wild cats, the forest officials have begun the tiger census in the Nallamala forest. The exercise was launched at Atmakur in Kurnool and Markapuram in Prakasam district four days ago. Sources said the 45-day exercise would also be taken up at Achampet in Mahbubnagar and Nagarjunasagar in Nalgonda district. Forest officials said 200 digital cameras would be used to photograph the pugmarks, which would be analyzed using computers to identify tigers on various parametres. "But the availability of good quality pugmarks suitable for analysis would be not more than 20 to 25 per cent," a senior forest ranger pointed out. The census would be conducted on the basis of digital photographs of the tiger pugmarks and camera tracks which would be evaluated with the help of the latest software. During the exercise, the forest teams would count the pugmarks at water holes in the forest core area spread across 2,527 square km. A retired forest official Tulasi Rao said proliferation of tigers and other wild animals is linked to availability of food, which flourished only when the green cover is improved. NSTR, which has been renamed Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, has its tiger numbers grow to 70 with a healthy male-female-cubs ratio in the last census. In fact, the wild cat numbers plummeted to 30 in the last 6-7 years. NSTR, spread over five districts of the Nallamala mountain ranges and encompassing more than 3,500 square km, was the abode for nearly 100 tigers in 1990. There are over 300 leopards in the sanctuary.

1 comment:

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