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22 Mar 2017

Jumbo count in north forests at March-end

The training for forest department staff and NGOs at Sukna on Tuesday. Picture by Passang Yolmo
TT, Alipurduar/Jalpaiguri, March 21: Number of elephants in the forests of north Bengal will be counted in a three-day exercise, along with six north-eastern states, at the end of March in the first such joint census.
The jumbo census will be conducted in north Bengal and the north-eastern states of Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh on March, 27, 28 and 29 so that the animals are not counted more than once.
"Elephants migrate between states and hence, census would be carried out across north Bengal and the six north-eastern states at one go to avoid double counting. The joint census will be the first such exercise," said a forester.
Elephants in the south Bengal forests will be counted, along with the contiguous states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Odisha, in the middle of May. This is the first time that Bengal will be divided into two parts for the elephant census.
Today, a training was conducted at different locations in north Bengal, including Sukna, for forest staff and representatives of wildlife NGOs who will conduct the census.
In total, around 200 teams will be engaged for the census. Foresters said about 50 pet elephants would be used for the count.
Tiger survey
The state forest department has engaged an Assam-based wildlife NGO to carry out a three-year survey in north Bengal to know the number of tigers, the areas of the animal's presence and other details.
Pradeep Vyas, the principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), said on Tuesday that the total cost of the project that had been contracted out to Aaranyak was around Rs 55 lakh.
"The comprehensive survey will be conducted through scientifically. Detailed information about big cats will be recorded through camera traps, and direct and indirect sighting. The tiger's habitat, presence of other animals in the area and other relevant details will be recorded," he said.

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