To generate data on the tiger and panther presence in the State, the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department would be initiating a week-long census starting May 1. Apart from enumerating the carnivore, the exercise plans to make an estimate of herbivore abundance at different sanctuaries and national parks.
For the annual exercise, the department officials along with volunteers from different animal welfare groups would scout the wild using techniques such as pugmark track, walking trails and water hole. The trails left by tigers and panthers along with other wildlife would be picked up and documented.
Locations to be covered include Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary of Jannaram forests in Adilabad district, Eturnagaram and Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary of Warangal district, Kinnerasani Wildlife Sanctuary of Khammam district, Papikonda and Chintalapally apart from Sri Venkateswara Wildlife Sanctuary, Tirupati and Srisailam Tiger Reserve.
According to the officials, the field work was planned to be carried out from May 1 to 7 along with about 40 to 50 volunteers.
“This will be followed by required work to go through the data in the next three days and eliminate possible duplications and arrive at right figures about wildlife in these areas,” said A Sankaran, Deputy Conservator of Forests.
About herbivores, the initiative would be broader and involve estimating low, medium and high abundance of their presence.
“By the end of May, we will have compiled the numbers and details of the national parks and sanctuaries,” he said.
The Forest Department looks at enrolling at least 40 volunteers and then deploying at least three to four volunteers for each division. The officials said that different voluntary agencies and animal welfare groups were being approached for the purpose and the volunteer force would be drawn from Bird Watchers Society, Friends of Snakes, People For Animals (PFA) and the Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society (HYTICOS).