Sunday, April 04, 2010

Digital cameras to help count lion population

Digital cameras to help count lion population
Times of India

For the first time, 130-odd digital cameras will be used to count Asiatic lions over four days, as the census covering the districts of Junagadh, Amreli, Porbandar and Bhavnagar begins on April 24.

Divisional conservator of forest Sandeep Kumar told TOI that all the four districts will be divided into 28 zones. The zones will further have 100 subzonal heads who would be armed with digital cameras. The census will be conducted by direct sighting method, particularly around water bodies where lions are expected to come to quench their thirst.

Kumar said that apart from recording on paper, each subzonal head would also try and take a picture to create a unique identification bank for the lions. The parameters for identification include shape or marks on ear, nose and face, the tail, and the sides of the lion. Officials said that to prevent duplication, the photographs would also register the time and details of the camera from which they were taken.

Kumar said 450 enumerators, assisted by 900 others, would be deployed in the census. This means each team, headed by a sub-zonal chief, would have about 12 members to conduct the census by direct sighting method. A team of 56 volunteers will also accompany them to provide food or attend to any other kind of emergency.

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