Experts demand fresh count of tigers through pugmark

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Baripada, Feb 18 (UNI) Experts, wildlife buffs and NGO representatives have expressed anguish and displeasure over the half-hearted way the 'Camera trap' exercises were being conducted in the Simplipal Tiger Reserve from March 26,2007 to May 26, 2007.

Experts and wildlife buffs strongly voiced the demand for an enquiry into how the camera trap protocol, devised by the Dehradun based Wildlife Institute of India, was being flouted by four postgraduates deployed for the purpose, and how they failed to take care of extinguished batteries, exposure of the entire film roll, or correct the electrical or mechanical malfunctioning.

These factors had substantially reduced the total effective camera trap days in the Simlipal exercise, the experts added.

Experts and wildlife buffs expressed their surprise at the Camera trap at the high density category like Bhanjabasa where not a single tiger could be captured, even though the field staff during their routine patrolling had reported direct sighting of the Great Cat on several occasions.

A probe is urgently necessary for exposing the reasons for failure of the camera trap at Bhanjabasa, they asserted.

A retired faculty member in Zoology in the M P C College, Baripada, Bhabagrahi Mohanty opined that the camera trap exercises in Simlipal was a hoax and its results should be rejected by all the wildlife lovers.

Mr Mohanty said the wildlife wing of the forest department should immediately take steps for a fresh headcount of the Great Cat adopting the pugmark technique.

He said that traditional method of counting tigers through pugmark technique was more dependable in the STR , encompassing a total area of 2750 sq.kms.

Bharatiya Jana Kalyan Kendra a premier Mayurbhanj-based NGO Secretary Swarapananda Kar also reiterated the demand for a fresh headcount of wild tigers in Orissa by adopting pugmark methodology invented by Late Padmashree Saroj Raj Choudhury.

The BJKK secretary wondered how the tiger estimation in Camera trap method was the same like the number reflected in the pugmark methodology exercises done in Corbett. If this was so, how could one hundred one RBT found in 2004 through pugmark technique could vanish from Simlipal during Camera trap exercises in March- May, 2007, Mr Kar quipped.

Society for Advancement of Forestry and Environment Secretary S Das echoed the same demand.

UNI XC-BD KK RD SY HS1821

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