First crocodile census in Gir sanctuary today
The Times Of India
Rajkot: Around 300 forest officials and volunteers will fan out across the Gir wildlife sanctuary and the peripheral areas in the first ever crocodile census to be conducted by the forest department on Thursday.
The teams will cover a 10km radius around the sanctuary where crocodiles have been seen in sizeable numbers but never officially counted. Though voluntary wildlife organizations in Vadodara and Kheda districts have been conducting census in their respective areas, this is the first official crocodile count by the state forest department.
Mostly, marsh crocodile species is seen in the Gir forest and nearby regions, particularly in the Kamleshwar Dam.
The decision to conduct the census was taken during the national seminar on the crocodile and human conflict held last month in Sasan-Gir. During the meet, various methods to reduce crocodile-human conflict were discussed but the forest department did not have figures of crocodiles in the wild.
"The main objective of the crocodile census is to get exact number of this reptile in the forest and nearby regions. This will help tackle the human-crocodile conflict and minimize it," said a senior forest official associated with the census team.
For counting, the entire sanctuary has been divided into 13 zones and 120 sub-zones. The officials will be using direct and indirect sighting methods for counting the reptiles. The counting will be done for three hours in the morning and then three hours in the afternoon when crocodiles usually come out of water to soak themselves in the sun during winter.