A project undertaken by the jungle lodge Tigertrails at Chichghat Valley that adjoins the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve will now help keep track of animal movements. For the first time, a live-feed camera set has been installed in the region by the lodge members.
Some rare animals, including honey badgers, porcupines and the four-horned deer have been tracked using this method.
The cameras have been set up in the natural forest created on 100 acres in the buffer zone of the reserve consisting of grasslands, waterholes and dense thickets with tall green canopies. The zone is protected from domestic cattle to prevent grazing.
There are about six natural springs in the forest that are also used as water recharging ducts during the monsoon, and since this forest lies in a valley, surrounded by the hills of the tiger reserve, wildlife living there and in the buffer forest passes through it.
“We have been monitoring the animal movements 24 hours through live still and video cameras with day and night photography facility at these waterholes. Besides tigers, sloth bears and leopards, the live monitoring has helped record the presence of rare wildlife like honey badgers, porcupines and even chousingha, or four-horned deer, who regularly visit the waterholes,” said Amrut Dhanwatay, in-charge of the lodge.
The cameras are not only recording the density of the animals, but also their details such as male or female, young and adults and the interactions between them. It is helping record different sets, such as two tigresses with two and three cubs each.
“All the cameras at the waterholes are with live feed in our residence, connected to a computer and HD and are recording waterhole count of wildlife in relationship to presence of predators. We had actually started the initiative to keep a track of every tiger seen in the Tadoba range along with left and right side strip patterns,” said Dhanwatay.
The lodge members are not operating any trail cameras inside the national park, as that comes under the jurisdiction of the Forest Department, but are maintaining tiger identity as a baseline data generation activity, which is regularly being submitted to the national park office.