Nature Mates-Nature Club has participated in all the tiger census which started since 1995. Hence we have experienced the change in census techniques, its precisions, problems, benefits and the dynamics of Sundarban which enables us to understand the forest better. It has made us realize how difficult it is to safeguard these forests just by the forest department. Particularly tiger census helped us understand the importance of the creek survey, waders and lesser cat survey together with the importance of livelihood programs in Sundarbans. Both pugmark census technique and camera trapping associate studies require dedicated life threatening moments for the people which enabled us to see the ruggedness of Sundarbans.
During our initial days of the tiger census we have experienced on-foot search for proper pugmarks in Sundarbans. Those experiences were an eye opener about the terrain, the effort given by the ground forest staffs and the ability of the tiger to survive in this landscape. During the prey-base census days, the on-foot work was completely stopped. This technique was totally dependent on signage findings from narrow boats. The camera trap technique again involved on-foot camera installation. Hence the transformation of census technique canes from invasive chemical techniques to almost non-invasive signage survey to camera installations.
Crocodile Census 2012
Population estimation of Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) in Indian part of Sundarbans:
Nature Mates participated in a census program of Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) at Indian part of Sundarbans conducted by Wildlife Wing, Forest Directorate with the involvement of IUCN SSC Crocodile Specialist Group (CSG) members of Wildlife Institute of India, Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Herpetology Centre in January 2012. Total 240 crocodiles were spotted during the survey with a rate of 0.12 individual per kilometer and 0.23 individual per hour. Results revealed presence of healthy breeding population of estuarine crocodiles in comparison to the other parts of the world.