Maharashtra forest department to do away from waterhole census from 2018

Apr 11, 2018, 17:29 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Forest department plans to do away with the waterhole census from this year as, according to them, 'it is unscientific'

Nature lovers and FD officials carry out the animal sighting exercise on the brightest full moon day
Nature lovers and FD officials carry out the animal sighting exercise on the brightest full moon day

Sighting animals sitting on machaans constructed near waterholes on 'Buddha Purnima' will soon be just an experience for wildlife lovers. The Maharashtra forest department, which used to conduct a wildlife census depending on the number of animals spotted near waterholes on the brightest full moon day of the year, has decided to discontinue the process, as according to them it's unscientific. From this year, nature lovers would only have to observe the animals that visit the waterholes. According to sources, they would not have to note down details about their sightings.

Sources said that every year the number of people who volunteer for the census is quite high, hence the forest department does an online registration for those who want to take part in it.

Nature lovers and FD officials carry out the animal sighting exercise on the brightest full moon day

Speaking to mid-day, Sunil Limaye, additional principal chief conservator of forest, said, "We are not putting an end to the animal sighting activity on Buddha Purnima, but making it more fruitful. It will be named nisarganubhav (nature and wildlife experience). More than a counting practice, it will be an observation exercise, which will help ascertain the kind of animals found in a certain area."

Over the years there has been a lot of debate about the reliability of the waterhole census, because techniques like camera trapping give more accurate results. The estimate provided by counting animals might not be accurate always. Sources said that by taking part in 'nisarganubhav' people would also get to know about the way the management is working and make the process all the more transparent. The exercise would also help to curb illegal activities like poaching.

"The nisarganubhav activity will also act as a feedback mechanism for the top management. It can also provide livelihoods to locals if planned effectively," added Limaye.

Also Read: Waterhole Census In Sanjay Gandhi National Park: 6 Leopards Spotted In 24 Hrs

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