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Move afoot for big cat census, repository of traps

The Pioneer, New Delhi, 29th May, 2013

Efforts are on for carrying out the 2014 tiger estimation  and building up of National Repository of Camera Trap Photographs of Tigers (NRCTPT) from the various reserves across the country.

The two-day meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) with field directors of the various reserves that concluded  on Tuesday also reviewed the progress of the fourth phase monitoring of tigers.

Certain tiger reserves including Bhadra (Karnataka), Corbett (Uttarakhand), Kanha (Madhya Pradesh)  will  be brought under the ambit of hi-tech M- STrIPE evaluation system. This would be a quantative process of evaluation, based on extensive data analysis, in contrast to the earlier qualitative analysis done by visiting team of experts.

According to sources in NTCA, the field directors are being prepared for the coming tiger census next year. While the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), came up with presentations regarding formats and methodologies to be used in this regard, the respective Field Directors would also undergo specialised training. Another important issue discussed on the occasion was the importance of compiling of the NRCTPT.

Dr K Ullas Karanth, Tiger Expert and Director for Science-Asia, Wildlife Conservation Society has been working on the project demonstrated on its efficacy. . Currently, the WCS database of tiger IDs in Karnataka has over 4,000 images of 600 individual tigers from multiple sources,covering an area of 4,000 sq kms of prime tiger habitat in Karnataka. These pictures are used for rapid sharing of information with State Forest Department and NTCA in real time . This practice is to be followed in the other reserves of the country.

The sources pointed out that such data will also help in tracing back the big cat to its reserve after seizures of skins etc. which will further pin point the responsibilities of management of the reserve.