Much awaited lion census starts at Gir sanctuary from Saturday
The Times Of India
AHMEDABAD: Experts from the Aligarh Muslim University and the Wildlife institute of India are constantly monitoring the feeds received from the camera which have been set for the first time in the sanctuary area.
The forest department has set in 80 camera traps for the Asiatic lion census 2015 which begin from Saturday. The herculean task to enumerate the endangered Asiatic lions in the Gir sanctuary will be spread in two phases the mock round on May 2 and 3 while the final could will be taken up on May 4 and 5.
The principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) in Gujarat CN Pandey said that "This year a method of direct sighting or direct contact will be used to count lions." The 2010 census too had revealed that there were 411 lion of which 110 odd lions were outside the sanctuary.
"GPS system, digital photography will be used in lion census and rather than preparing manual notes on the location, it will be tagged using the more technical geo-reference system," he added.
The exercise will be conducted with 2,500 people that include 600 units of enumerators includingwild-life experts, government officials, trackers, who tracks the behavioral pattern of lions, along with NGOs, added Pandey.
Enumerators will also record unique identification marks like scars on face, its colour, shape of ears, tuft of hair on tail, he said.
According to Pandey, the census will be conducted in the habitat circle of lions in and around 20,000 square km in Junagadh, Gir-Somnath, Devbhoomi-Dwarka, Bhavnagar and Amreli districts. This according to Forest officials was the census in the largest area in the history ever since the formation of the State.
The officials said that experts from the Aligarh University and a group of young researchers are camping in Sasan.