Monday, April 12, 2010

Gir lions to be mapped using GPS

Gir lions to be mapped using GPS
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik

This Will Help Create Digital Database Of The Big Cats

The lion census to begin from April 24 in and around Gir, will have another added feature. It will create a new digitised database of the Asiatic lion, by mapping the position of a lion on Geographical Information System (GIS).

Forest officials said that the teams involved in the census will be equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment, which will help mapping of lions, which are moving out of Gir forest in search of newer habitats.

The census this time will cover the entire coastline, where lions have been sighted. Deputy Conservator of Forest Sandeep Kumar who is incharge of the census said 'nearly 130 odd GPS devices will be given to the zonal officers who would note down position of the lion along with other details."

Kumar said that there are 100 sub zonal officials, 28 zonal and seven regional teams involved in the operation. With GPS, the officials would take down the exact location of the lion, including the longitude, latitude, and the distance from North Pole would be noted.

"We are using GIS and GPS this time to know exact location of lion spotted. On that basis, we can say what is the composition of land and where they are exactly located during the census period," Kumar said. The officials will also take photographs of all the lions, lionesses and cubs spotted, so that they can have photographic evidence and verify the same with unique identification markings of lions. During the 2005 census, 359 lions were found in Gir.

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