The National Tiger Conservation Authority in collaboration with Wildlife Institute of India has developed an app christened as M-STrIPES (Monitoring System for Tiger, Intensive Patrolling and Ecological Status) for android mobile and desktop software for all India tiger estimation, data compilation and analysis.
Interestingly, Gujarat which does not have record of tigers was asked to participate in the training programme as tigers’ movement is noticed in some areas of the state.
The unique feature of this app includes modules for conducting sign survey, line transect, vegetation analysis and human disturbance. Once the data is collected through the M-STrIPES app at beat level, the data will be imported to M-STrIPES desktop software at division level and after data validation, it will be exported to central server for further analysis.
The app as well as desktop software was introduced in the three-day training of trainers workshop of forest officials of North East Indian states for All India Tiger Estimation – 2017-19 that concluded on Wednesday.
Participants of workshops included wildlife and territorial forest divisions of Assam, neighbouring states of Manipur, Nagaland, West Bengal and even Gujarat. Forest officials of Bhutan also participated in the workshop. The workshop was organised at Kaziranga Tiger Reserve by the National Tiger Conservation Autority (NTCA) in association with the Assam Forest Department. This was the last workshop of training of trainers series conducted by NTCA across India.
The workshop was inaugurated by N K Vasu, PCCF(Wildlife) & Chief Wildlife Warden, Assam and attended by D P Bankhwal, IGF, NTCA, Regional office, Guwahati, P S Somashekar, IGF, NTCA, Regional office, Bengaluru and Senior scientist & Professor, Qamar Qureshi, Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun.
Delivering the keynote address N K Vasu, CWLW, Assam highlighted the importance of Kaziranga Tiger Reserve as an ‘open lab’ for studying wildlife population dynamics of species like tiger, great Indian one horned rhino and Asian elephant. D P Bankhwal, IGF, NTCA, Regional office, Guwahati urged the participants to share the monitoring skills with field staff in their respective divisions for getting accurate picture of wildlife status beyond the borders of PA. The evolution of monitoring protocol from the earlier ‘pugmark method’ to use of latest statistical models like ‘Spatially Explicit Capture Recapture Models’ was narrated by PS Somshekar, IGF, NTCA, Regional office, Bengaluru.
The workshop imparted training to the participants in conducting sign survey for large carnivores and mega herbivores, estimation of ungulate abundance by distance sampling, vegetation analysis and estimation of tiger population size by using camera traps. During the workshop, participants will get hands on experience on all the component of All India Tiger Estimation.
The tiger estimation exercise will not only focus on tiger reserves of North East India but also to territorial forest divisions for determining the status of wildlife including tiger outside the protected area network.
This unique digital initiative by NTCA and WII is expected to reduce the effort required for field data capture and analysis while minimizing the errors encountered during data compilation.
The actual tiger estimation related exercises are expected to start from January end and continue till April end.