NEW YORK (March 9, 2009) – The Wildlife Conservation Society’s India Program (WCS – India) has released a unique training video on YouTube that showcases the latest scientific methods for estimating the numbers of wild tigers and their prey.
Entitled “Monitoring Tigers and Their Prey – The Right Way,” the 5-part instructional video was produced by wildlife filmmaker Shekar Dattatri, in collaboration with renowned Wildlife Conservation Society tiger scientist Dr. K. Ullas Karanth.
The video is based on the acclaimed manual Monitoring Tigers and their Prey edited by Karanth and Dr. James D. Nichols, and is aimed at wildlife researchers, park managers, conservation volunteers, and students.
According to Karanth, who is a Senior Conservation Scientist with WCS, the main aim of the training video is to demystify the practice of field scientific techniques such as line transect sampling and camera trapping, and enable all interested persons to understand the correct field protocols that should be followed for monitoring this endangered big cat.
“A robust scientific system will allow us to accurately measure population trends of tigers and their prey from year to year,” said Karanth. “Such a system of monitoring could help us prevent local extinctions, like the one that took place in Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan a few years ago.”
Previously, the Indian government had relied on a scientifically flawed “pugmark” method, where tiger tracks were counted to estimate numbers. The government has now discarded this method, which was prone to producing over-inflated tiger numbers, in favor of scientific techniques such as those outlined in the video.
“WCS believes in developing best practices for big cat conservation and sharing its science widely with the conservation community,” Karanth added.
“While many people are now familiar with terms such as line-transect sampling and camera trapping, they may not be aware of the practice and principles underlying these methods. We hope the video will help fill this gap,” says Dr. Ravi Chellam, India Country Director for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “The video will also be useful to people studying other big cats like jaguars, cheetahs, snow leopards and leopards, because the methods of monitoring are essentially the same,” he added.
The video can be accessed at www.youtube.com/monitoringtigers
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