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Jumbo census begins in Kaziranga

Guwahati: The Assam forest department on Saturday started its four-day census of elephants in Assam’s famous Kaziranga National Park.
The authorities are adopting a two pronged approach for the counting for better results, said Satyendra Singh, Director of the park.
“We are going to go for direct count on the first two days while the last two days will be for dung count,” Singh said, adding that both the statistics will be compared to get the final figures. He said the last census of elephants in the park was done in 2012 and the number of elephants was found to be 1,165 then.
“It is an exercise we take up every five years. Normally we go for the direct head count only. However, this time we are resorting to a two pronged approach to get the exact statistics,” he added. The officials are expecting to have the complete statistics by next Wednesday.
Singh said that the authorities have divided the park into 71 zones for the purpose.
“We have stopped the elephant safaris in the park for today (Saturday). A total of 38 domesticated elephants of the park had been engaged in the exercise. While 38 elephants will be used to do the direct counting in 38 zones, census of the rest of the 33 zones will be taken up tomorrow (Sunday),” he said.
“After the direct count is over, we are going to go for dung count with the officials, volunteers and experts.”
He said that local people, members of NGOs and some experts from the Indian Institute of Science, Benga-luru, are also helping the forest department in the exercise.”A total of 220 field officials of the forest department have also been engaged in the whole exercise,” Singh added.
Located about 190-km away from Assam’s main city Guwahati, Kaziranga National Park is a Unesco world heritage site for conservation.
Although the park is famous for its one horned rhino population, it is also famous for its elephant and tiger population. (IANS)

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