Sit on a machaan and spot animals all night at Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Updated: May 14, 2019, 08:21 IST | A Correspondent

Forest guards also sit on the machaans during the census, and the volunteers are not allowed to get down in the middle of the exercise as that might lead to man-animal conflicts

Sit on a machaan and spot animals all night at Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Each machaan would have two volunteers and two forest guards for the course of the census

If you wish to have a thrilling experience of sitting on a machaan all night and counting wild animals visiting waterholes, then the time is now. This year, the waterhole census at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) would be carried out on May 18, which marks Buddha Purnima or the full moon day. The exercise would start around noon and continue till the same time on May 19.

Speaking to mid-day, an SGNP official said, "The annual waterhole census will be held on the night of Buddha Purnima this year. It will continue for about 24 hours till the next day." According to the plan, volunteers would have to stay on designated machaans throughout the 24 hours.

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"The waterhole census activity requires a lot of patience. Hence, in order to take part in it, people will have to come prepared, both physically and mentally. Once the participants sit on the designated machaans, they will not be able to leave the exercise midway under any circumstances," said a Forest Department official. Sources said that those who wished to take part in it would have to fill up an online form on the SGNP website and submit it to the authorities concerned.

On the night of Buddha Purnima, the waterhole census is carried out across the country at various national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and tiger reserves. This is because it is easier to spot the animals on a full moon day. Those who take part as volunteers are made to sit on machaans, from where they count the animals that visit the nearest waterholes. Forest guards also sit on the machaans during the census, and the volunteers are not allowed to get down in the middle of the exercise as that might lead to man-animal conflicts.

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