May 12, 2021 9:15:01 am
At least 600 people throughout Haryana participated in a three-day Monkey Census and documented approximately 6,000 monkeys on a specially designed mobile application by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
Officials said the monkey census was conducted between April 28 and April 30 and was part of a larger Wildlife Census for Haryana-2021, which was halted later keeping in view the increasing number of Covid cases in the state.
An official, who is a member of a joint team of WII, Dehradun, and Haryana Wildlife department, said, “At least 600 people documented at least 6,000 monkeys from their balconies and/or rooftops of their houses in Haryana. We had put a condition that the participants in the online survey will not venture out of their houses for the survey. The animals would be only observed from within the house. The maximum number of responses were received from the districts of Panchkula, Yamunanagar, Ambala, Kurushetra, Gurugram, Rewari, and Hisar. The mobile application — titled ‘Wildlife Census Haryana’ — was designed by WII, Dehradun. We are in the process of streamlining the documented monkeys in a scientific manner. The monkey census was part of Wildlife Census 2021.”
The Wildlife Census 2021 was to be held in two parts — line transects survey within and outside the Protected Areas and census through camera traps. The first part of training the field staff of Haryana Forest and Wildlife department about the techniques to be adopted during the census has been completed.
IFS, ML Rajvanshi, Haryana, said, “The increasing number of Covid-19 cases forced us to halt the ongoing census. We completed the training for our field staff but decided to abandon the field survey keeping in view the safety of wild animals as well as our staff members. We have so far not decided a date when the census will be resumed. The census was much awaited and we paid around Rs 42 lakh to WII, Dehradun, for the same.”
Sources said, “At least 20 per cent employees of the state forest and wildlife department, especially those working in the field, have been affected by Covid-19 so far. The department has prohibited the entry of visitors to national parks, zoos, wildlife sanctuaries in the state keeping in view of Covid-19 protocols.”
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