240 elephants spotted in north Bengal

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Kolkata, April 5 (IANS) Around 240 elephants were spotted in a 900 square km survey area in north Bengal in the pan-India synchronised elephant census, indicating the animal’s numbers may have increased in the are, an official said on Wednesday.

“Around 240 elephants were spotted while direct counting in the small sample survey area of 900 sq kms in north Bengal. It indicates the number of the animals is high and has increased. This is not the total count. We are waiting for the dung decay assessment and the statistical analysis… so it will take a few months to arrive at the final number,” Bengal’s Chief Wildlife Warden Pradeep Vyas told IANS.

Deploying direct and indirect counting methods, for the first time, states in east and northeast India, including West Bengal, carried a synchronised elephant census beginning on March 27.

The census for the region concluded on March 29.

Four zones (north, south, east and north-eastern zone) have been demarcated to count elephants in the all-India effort. Separate dates are allotted to each of the zones to conduct the count.

Apart from direct sighting, forest officials and experts will deploy dung-decay assessment as well, for accuracy.

Dung-decay method relies on estimating the pachyderm population size by counting dung piles and understanding how often elephants defecate and how fast dung piles decay.

The synchronised estimation will help in shedding light on demography and migration patterns.

In the second week of April, first phase of census in South Bengal will begin.

South Bengal is part of the east zone comprising Odisha, Jharkhand, and Chattisgarh, he said.

–IANS

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