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Tiger mapping project launched in Uttaranchal

Written by: Staff
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Hardwar, Mar 2 (UNI) A new tiger count system to prepare a 'tiger map', has been launched in Chilla and Dhaulkhand forest ranges of Uttaranchal and some other states in the country.

The new system is based on the counting of pugmarks along with a comprehensive study of the prey base and status of the habitat of the felines, unlike the old system which was primarily based upon the pugmark count only.

The need for developing a new system was urgently felt after mysterious disappearance of a large population of the big cats from the Sariska Tiger Reserve.

Dr Y V Jhala of the Wild Life Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, Qamar Qureshi, also from the WII and Project Tiger Director Rajesh Gopal -- who developed the new system, told UNI, after visiting the Chilla range of the Rajaji National Park in this district last evening, there were three phases of the new count system.

In the first phase, which lasted from February 21 to 28, forest personnel of the states concerned conducted a massive exercise with the new technique for the estimation of the number, co-predators, ungulates and vegetation, Dr Jhala said.

In the second phase, interpretation of satellite images and remote sensing data about vegetation, road network, land use and human disturbance would be undertaken and in third and final phase counting will be done with the help of video footage by close-circuit cameras in selected habitats.

To ensure transparency, counting is being conducted under the national and international observers.

Retired chief forest conservator of Madhya Pradesh A P Dwivedi will be the national observer for Uttaranchal while John Sidon Sticker from the US, Ms Ramona from Canada and Chris Carbane from the UK are working as international observers, Mr Jhala added.

Talking to UNI, Chris Carbane, expressed satisfaction with the ongoing process.

''It is a unique&comprehensive exercise being conducted in a scientific and completely objective manner,'' he said.

UNI XC YA PC1028

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