Salem: As the first formal ‘animal census’ now on in the forest areas of Salem district is to conclude on Sunday, the spotlight has turned on a visible presence of the wild gaur or the Indian bison, spotted deer and evidence of more elephants moving towards Mettur side. Besides, there are a variety of birds that have begun to flock from foreign countries in search of havens in the district.
These preliminary observations were made here on Saturday by Mr. Gokul of the NGO, ‘Salem Nature Wildlife Trust’, which has teamed up with the Tamil Nadu Forest department for the first ever ‘animal census’ in the district comprising six forest divisions.
They include the forest areas adjacent to Mettur reservoir, the Shevroy hills, foothills of Yercaud and Karumanthurai forest area among others. Under the leadership of the Salem district forest officer (DFO), Periyasamy, a group of 50 people, 25 from the forest department and 25 from the NGO, have split into several groups and fanned out to complete the census by Sunday.
While the census uses the usual techniques to get a fair account of the animals count including tracking footprints, saliva drops near their water holes inside the deep forest, the officials are also using GPS instrument to map the areas of the footprints of various animals. That will also give an idea on and what type of animal species move over which area, sources pointed out.
Mr. Periyasamy said once the census was completed and the details obtained about various animal species and birds, the forest department will draw up plans for their conservation and protection....