It’s rained all day today. It shouldn’t do– the monsoon season finished at the end of September so today’s weather was somewhat unexpected.As it happens, today the course trainees went out on National Trust for Nature Conservation’s elephants to do some line transect surveys of a wildlife corridor heading north from Chitwan National Park.
We all got up very early and drove into the centre of Sauhara where we met the elephants – who were waiting in a lay-by! Each elephant took their mahout and two trainees and walked two 600m transects in the forest looking for tiger prey species.
Apart from getting rather wet, the day was a huge success and all the teams managed to successfully survey their transects. One team even managed to spot a leopard; or at least a leopard’s tail as it jumped into the forest! Now that the data has been collected, the trainees will learn to use DISTANCE (a software package for designing and analyzing distance sampling surveys of wildlife populations) and analyse it.
This week we’ve also set up a grid of 20 camera traps in the same corridor. After training in use of the necessary equipment, teams of four (plus two NTNC technicians) used GPS units to navigate to locations in a pre-determined grid and then set up camera traps.
There’s quite a rigid protocol (for example the camera can’t face east or west or the sun will interfere with the camera) so it was a steep learning curve, but all were deployed successfully. We’ll leave the cameras up for the majority of the course to try and catch images of as many animals as possible. We’ll make sure to share the most exciting images with you in our blogs.
This weekend, after lectures have finished in the evening, we hope to take the trainees to see some local dancing. We’ve heard that there’s a festival happening this Sunday so hopefully we will be able to join in with that!
After a week of hard work, its time to get the dancing shoes on…
In case you came late into the story… as part of our EDGE Fellows programme, we’re currently running a Conservation Tools training course in Nepal. Where international and national participants have joined ZSL experts at the National Trust for Nature Conservation’s Biodiversity Conservation Centre.
Find out how you can support this an other work we do here