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24-hour wildlife census begins in Ajmer

  After continuous terrorizing of residents by panthers in border villages of Ajmer district, the forest department on Wednesday started a 24-hour census on eighty water holes to spot the actual number of wild cats in the area. Different teams in the morning moved to the spots for the census and they were instructed not to carry any mobile or instruments and eatables with them. The result will be complied on Thursday evening to get the real picture of wildlife in the region. In last two years, no panther was identified in the district during census but the wild cat spread fear in more than two dozen villages on the Ajmer-Rajasmand board area. Panthers were also spotted in Nasirabad zone of the district.

 

Three panthers were found dead in Jawaja block and a number of panther attacks are reported in Jawaja, Beawer, and Masuda blocks of the district. During the full moon on Wednesday, the department planned to count the wildlife in the district but the preference will be given to panthers. The teams are instructed to identify panthers by sight, sound and also by the footprints near water holes. The method of this traditional counting helps to get the figure of wild animals in a period of 24 hours near the water holes. "As this time, the summer is not on peak and the mercury is less than 40 degrees Celsius because of the western disturbances and there are chances that the animals go to some lower water holes during the counting," an official said. Indian panthers are native to Mewar region and at present but no panther is spotted in the district, "These panthers move out from nearby reserve forest of Tatgargh and Raila," the official said.

 

There was a traditional route of the panthers from Nag pahar to Pushkar but now this wild cat move to other regions in search of food. Sources said last year foxes, jackal and rabbits were found in good numbers here. In Sarwar and Kekeri , reptiles like cobra and vipers were also spotted. "This time preference has been given to find out the number of panthers in the region," the official added.

 

  Times of India, Delhi, Thursday 15th May 2014