Finding a carnivore scat on the track was always a good sign - the presence of carnivores speaks a lot about the health of the forest. It means that the forest is productive and if better protection is provided, it has the potential of sustaining carnivore population. Which automatically means that all the other denizens of the forest can also thrive. On one of our walks - it was a dusty track - my team mate identified a pug mark. And from then on we kept seeing those tracks every few meters almost till the end of our walk. We also got scrape marks and fresh scat on the track. We could hear the rumblings of a herd of wild elephants not very far - our guides got fidgety and hurried us along. It was an exciting walk. On another walk my teammate and I saw fresh leopard scrape with scent which was still wet on the ground. We got it twice more on the same track a few hundred meters further on. These encounters, though exciting, were rare. Most of the time, even a seemingly undisturbed forest would offer very few signs of animals. Signs of course depend on other factors as well - a leafy substrate does not offer many signs and rain washes away all tracks. But generally speaking, a forest where human impacts are less, animal signs are more. Which means a forest with less disturbance has higher probability of sustaining healthy animal populations.
So this was about the survey in brief. The other posts here are notes from a diary I started keeping when I was in the forest. I didn't have signal on my phone most of the time - so back from the walk and nothing to do, I started writing - this is more like a loose account of the day's walk, and some random thoughts at the end of the day. :)
Signs of human disturbance - Firewood Collection
Fire - vast patches grasslands burnt and along with it life in the understory
A rare reward!
Collecting scat sample