It was a very cold morning in Sariska when I along with the IWAH participant moves for the interesting practical session with our resource person Bivash and Bilal, Scientist from WII in the Six gypsy vehicles. It was 7.00 Am when we leave for the practical session and it takes hardly 30 minutes from Sariska palace to the actual place of the practical session for Sign Survey-Identification and interpretation of tracks and signs-understanding the forest. we were all delighted in the hope that we would have a chance to see a tiger in the early morning. After reaching there we left our vehicle at the road and walked on the trail in search of signs left over by the wild animals on the path. Bivash and Bilal demonstrated the surveying and monitoring techniques in identifying free-range wild animals and importance of how the footmarks are important in forecasting threatened populations in response to conservation management and their use in detecting trends in numbers and the distribution of populations. We observed pug marks of a tiger on the way and also the footprint of peafowl. Bivash explained the various differentiating methods for identifying the male and female tiger pugmark. Bilal also showed us the spray marking of a tiger on the tree with the help of pugmark pattern on the way near the tree. At the end of the practical session, we were all enlightened with the experiences shared by both of the scientists and enjoyed a discussion with the other participants a lot!!
After that, we had taken our respective seats in gypsy and reached back to the Sariska palace for breakfast and to continue the other important session of the scheduled course. The next session with Raj Amin at lecture hall was also an interesting one. We all enjoyed the Amin style of teaching which made the difficult mathematical equation quite easy to understand. Demonstration of equipment for field study was the next session in which we all had hands-on training on the equipment like a range finder, compass and use of GPS receiver for animal population monitoring. The day ends with an interesting session of five minutes presentation.
_ Kafil Hussain