IIB engaged in elephant count in Uttarakhand

Dehra Dun/Nanital: The Uttarakhand forest department has roped in the prestigious Indian Institute of Bangalore to prepare an estimate of elephant population based on its dung-decay method in the hill state.

"This is not a census as the very word census will not be correct. We are going to prepare an accurate estimate of elephant population using scientific method of dung-decay," said D V S Khati, Chief Forest Conservator, who is supervising the first such count in the hill state where elephant population is estimated to be around 1500.

The method of dung-decay, which was first used in Vietnam, has already been applied by scientists of IIB in Karnataka. Under the method, the digital photographs of dungs released by elephants would be taken by scientists which would be studied by using special software on computer in a particular area to prepare an exact estimate of pachyderm population.

The exercise will take five days beginning from February 24 in the state where areas like Corbett National Park and Rajaji National Park would also be covered.

"We will be using this method at a later stage in Terai area where the population density of elephant is much less," said Khati. Other countries like Myanmar and Thailand are also using the dung-decay method to prepare the estimate of the elephant population. A series of workshops for imparting training to foresters and forest guard of Uttarakhand by scientists of the IIB have also been held in this regard, Khati said.