Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/Bhubaneswar, Apr 9:
With the state and Centre speaking in different voices on the tiger population in Odisha, the final report on the number of big cats in the state is likely to be released by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) by April end, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) sources said.
Earlier this month, the state government had rubbished the NTCA figure of 28 and had claimed that there are around 60 tigers in the state.
The All India Tiger Estimation Report, 2014 released in January this year had reported a fall in Odisha’s big cat population to 28 from 32 in 2010 and 45 in 2006.
The latest report published this year said that tiger population in states like Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram were included and subsequently revised in the census report. However, the final tiger population in Odisha was put at 28. The state pointed out that the results were announced at a time when the counting exercise was still on in the state.
Recently, the state government had sent additional information and photographs about the presence of around 60 tigers to NTCA. The revised figures and documents sent by the state government would be examined, NTCA sources said.
Besides Odisha, neighbouring West Bengal has also written to the NTCA claiming the presence of more tigers in the Sundarban National Park.
The Central authority would come up with a detailed report on the 47 tiger reserves in India which are governed by Project Tiger and administered by the NTCA under MoEF, source revealed.
Notably, the NTCA has decided to include wild carnivores such as leopards and panthers among others in the census for the first time.
According to a study on tiger population released on January 21 this year, India’s tiger count has gone up by more than 30 per cent in the past four years. The study put the number at 2,226, up from 1,706 in 2010 when the last such tiger-counting exercise was undertaken.
It may be mentioned here that State Environment and Forest Ministers prepared a resolution at the end of the Conference at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Tuesday. Among other resolutions, it was decided that all tiger range states will constitute State-level Steering Committees and prepare Tiger Conservation Plans including voluntary village relocation from core/critical tiger habitats.