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Forest personnel and volunteers involved in wildlife census at Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Erode on Saturday.  

Forty-six teams comprising 421 personnel began on Saturday the bi-annual six-day wildlife monitoring exercise at the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR) here on Saturday.

Under Phase IV monitoring of tiger reserves by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), the pre-monsoon survey is carried out between June and July, while the post-monsoon survey will be held in December– January.

The exercise began with a training programme for forest department personnel at Bannari.

The 46 teams comprise forest rangers, foresters, guards, anti-poaching watchers, students from forest college at Mettupalayam, volunteers began the exercise on Saturday to cover 10 ranges in the two divisions of Sathyamangalam and Hasanur. Ranges include Bhavani Sagar, Thuckanaickenpalayam, Talamalai, Vilamundi, Kadambur, Hasanur, Germalam, Talavadi, Jerahalli and Sathyamangalam.

During the exercise, personnel will monitor carnivore signs, pug marks, large herbivore signs, co-predators, tree bark peelings and also direct sightings of wildlife. The data, including photographs, will be recorded in the Monitoring System for Tigers - Intensive Protection and Ecological Status (M-STrIPES) app for analysis. The data would be sent to the NTCA for processing after which the number of wild animals in the forest will be known.

As per the notification under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, area of the core or critical tiger habitat in STR is 793.49 sq.km while the buffer or peripheral area is 614.91 sq.km as on June 25, 2018.

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