Survey teams working in the Northern Plains received training in elephant DNA sampling from colleagues at the Seima Protection Forest in November 2009, in preparation for the start of the elephant population monitoring study. This study will produce an estimation of the size of the elephant population in the Northern Plains landscape.
The training was divided into two sessions, with both led by Forestry Administration/WCS staff member Nut Menghor. A total of 14 people were given training on the theoretical background to Asian Elephant survey techniques, class and field training on the CITES/MIKE classification system for elephant dung, line transect methodology and DNA sample collection. Trainees included WCS field staff and staff from the Ministry of Environment.
Teams will collect samples at hotspots and will also search in areas around hotspots for dung and elephant tracks. This will make sure that they are able to collect as many samples as possible over the three-month study period.