Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 30:
Six months after straight-out rejecting the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) report of all-time low figure in the state, the Odisha government has decided to conduct tiger census in January 2016 to back its claims of presence of higher number of big cats.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) SS Srivastava on Monday said that the state government has begun necessary preparation for fresh enumeration of tigers adhering to the techniques adopted by the Central enumerators.
“National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is reviewing the dispute over the number of tigers in Odisha with the help of pug marks and camera trap technique. However, the authority has not communicated its final decision to the government yet. Tiger census in the state would be conducted as per techniques adopted by the Central teams to enumerate the tigers for which necessary preparations have begun,” Srivastava said.
Earlier this year, the state government had rejected the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) report which claimed that there had been a sharp decline in tiger population in the state with the number of big cats down to an all time low of 28 in 2014. Reacting sharply to this, the state government had written to NTCA to conduct census again as the forest department asserted that the number wouldn’t be less than 60.
The NTCA under the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, in its report made public in New Delhi in January this year, had revealed that the tiger population in the country has gone up from 1,706 to 2,226 tigers, an increase of 30% in three years since 2011.
However, the number of big cats in Odisha plunged from 32 to an all time low of just 28 during the same period. The number was 45 in the census held on 2006.
Notably, the state has three tiger reserves — Similipal, Satakosia and Sunabeda.