The biggest-ever exercise to count the only wild population of Asiatic lions in the world begins on Saturday.
Count a sight
Enumerators will employ the ‘Total Block Counting Method’, which is based on the direct sighting. Indirect evidence — pugmarks or scat — will not be considered. Once spotted, lion will be photographed, and its unique identification marks — scars on face, shape of ears, tuft of hair on tail, colour, belly folds — will be recorded. The exact spot of the sighting will be pinned using GPS.
Preparing the ground
Pre-census activities ongoing for the past 9 months. Enumerators have been studying behaviour of animals, patterns of distribution of prides, etc. Lions’ movements have been tracked through GPS, GIS, and trap, still and video cameras. Information such as location of kills has been collected. Based on this data, 30-odd maps have been plotted, defining census area.