Free Press Journal

Bhopal: 3-phase Tiger census starts today


Bhopal: Three-phase All India Tiger Estimation 2018 is all set to start from Monday in the State. In 2014 survey, Karnataka recorded presence of 406 tigers, followed by Uttarakhand with 340 and while Madhya Pradesh stood third with 308 big cats.

The survey is conducted every four years in all forest areas in the country duly following the scientific method formulated by Nation Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII). Though it is a nationwide exercise, it is not synchronised and hence different states will carry out the assessment on different dates. IN Madhya Pradesh, this exercise will begin from Monday.

This time the tiger estimation will be hi-tech in the state as forest ground staffers have been equipped with smartphones having ecological App. Details and observations will be uploaded to the ecological module of the mobile app, – M-STriPES – Monitoring System for Tiger-Intensive Protection and Ecological Status developed by WII. M-STriPES and GPS devices will help forest guards to collect data along with pictures. The data collected by guard is automatically transferred to a central server.

The app will act as a tool for data collection and there will be no change as far as sampling methodology is concerned. Only smartphone savvy staffers will use the app technique, while others can do data collection manually.

PCCF Jitendra Agrawal, while talking to Free Press, said that estimation will begin from Monday. Ecological App has been downloaded in smart phones of beat officers. They have been given both the options. If they are app savvy, they may use the ecological app for data collection. Otherwise, they may go manual, said Agrawal.

Informing about the different phases, PCCF said that during Phase- I ground survey data will be collected by trained field staff. Phase -II involves habitat characterization using satellite data, while in Phase -III computation of tiger density using camera traps will be carried out. In areas where it is difficult to conduct ground surveys or set up camera taps, genetic testing of tiger scat will be undertaken to ascertain tiger density. Data from all three phases will then be analysed together using statistical models to estimate tiger population, the officer informed.