Sunday, April 3, 2011

Jumbos, tigers thrive in Coimbatore forests

Coimbatore: The recently-conducted wildlife census in the Coimbatore forest division has revealed that Coimbatore reserve forests have a sizable number of elephants and are also a congenial habitat for tigers.
District Forest Officer V. Thirunavukkarasu told The Hindu that the three-day census had showed a healthy trend in elephant population. The male-female elephant ratio which used to be 1:25 is now 1:15. The number of calves and sub-adult population is also on the rise.
The census was carried out by 300 people, including the forest department staff and volunteers, covering 329 sq km (out of the total forest cover of 694 sq km). The officials resorted to the direct and indirect count methods and water hole count methods. In the indirect count, the census staff took note of pug marks and scat as indirect evidences. The census was carried out in 65 blocks in six ranges in the Coimbatore division. Mr. Thirunavukkarasu said the census output indicated a harmonious balance in herbivore and carnivore population thus ensuring a healthy habitat.
As far as the elephant population is concerned, 66 elephants were sighted. Indicators i.e., indirect evidences, also proved that the Coimbatore division forests have 150 to 200 elephants while migrating and in peak period the jungles had 300 elephants. The officials sighted tigers in two places. Three pug marks were found in Karamadai and two each in Mettuppalayam and Sirumugai. A leopard was also sighted and 39 indirect evidences indicated the presence of more. Scats of sloth bears were found in 39 places.

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