Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 23:
The wildlife division of Forest and Environment department of Odisha government claims to have identified 60 tigers in the state excluding the Sunabeda Tiger Reserve.
“While two of the sanctuaries are home to 40 tigers, the rest 20 live in other forests of the state. We have not yet done the census in Sunabeda Tiger Reserve. After counting the number from this forest, the numbers might go up to 65,” said a senior forest department official.
It may be noted that the Central Government had earlier claimed the presence of only 28 tigers in the state kicking a controversy. The State Government had rubbished the report vehemently. The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) for Wildlife had assured to challenge the report the findings of which were released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) even as the census was still on.
The state had conducted a tiger census in forests such as Similipal, Satkosia, Hadagada and Deogarh by then.
As per established convention, state governments conduct their own census and present the statistics to the Central government. The central authorities verify that data through satellite images and take recourse to the camera trapping method to work out the final tally.
While the same process was adopted this year, the reports were published announcing the presence of only 28 tigers in the state even before the camera trapping was completed.
After the final camera trapping numbers came out recently, the Similipal reserve itself accounted for 30 tigers, Satkosia had 10 tigers and the rest in other jungles excluding Sunabeda Tiger Reserve, Bhitar Kanika and some of the coastal area jungles had 20 tigers.
“Our new report has been forwarded to the Central Government. We are expecting the final report from the center soon,” said the forest official.