OOTY: Tiger count along with ‘habitat evaluation and tiger prey base census’ in the buffer zone of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) has got underway.
Significantly, a Mobile app is to be used for the first time to record the data.
Stating that this phase would be a week-long exercise, Mr. Srinivas Reddy, field director of MTR said, while the tiger count has been done in the MTR recently, which makes up for core zone of the tiger reserve, the focus has now shifted to the MTR ‘buffer zone’.
Since the Segur and Singara reserve forests spread over 367 sq.km area bordering the MTR, they constitute for the tiger reserve a buffer zone of the MTR.
This tiger count exercise has begun in these two reserve forests now.
“The forest staff and other volunteers involved in the census would collect data to evaluate the health of the habitat, count the other wildlife, co-predators like the leopard and the tiger prey base. This would give a comprehensive idea about the health of the habitat in the tiger reserve buffer zone and also the movement of the big cat and other animals. Once this part of census process was over, in the next phase, 400 camera traps will be set up across the Segur and Singara reserve forests to count the tiger density using the images recorded in the cameras. The data collected through the census exercise will be sent to the national tiger conservation authority for analysis and further computation,” Mr. Reddy added.
Meanwhile, Mr. N. Mohanraj, honorary wildlife warden of the MTR, said that for the first time an android mobile application ‘app’ called “M-Stripes” devised by the Wildlife Institute of India is being used to record date during tiger census. This digitalized method of recording will give more accurate date. The Segur and Singara reserve forests are divided into 25 transect zones for the tiger count.
In each transect lines, the presence of tigers using the direct and indirect sighting methods and other carnivore signs and other data such as details of flora, will be recorded, he added.