Bhubaneswar, April 4:
The Odisha government on Saturday claimed that the state has around 60 tigers and rubbished the tiger census figures prepared by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
The All India Tiger Estimation Report, 2014 released in January this year reported a fall in Odisha’s big cat population to 28 from 32 in 2010 and 45 in 2006. The dismal figure for the big cat in Odisha has pitted the state government against the Centre.
“The results were announced in January when the counting exercise in the final phase of the survey was still on in the state. Now, we have sent additional information and photographs about presence of more tigers to NTCA,” S.S. Srivastava, principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), told reporters here.
He said the NTCA had not carried out a survey in most of the divisions of the state when the announcement of the tiger census was made. The conservator of forests claimed that a final figure of tiger presence in the whole state has come out, which is around 60.
He said the division wise figure will come out soon. Protesting against the results of the survey that put the number of tigers in the state at 28, Srivastava had earlier shot off a letter to the NTCA demanding a re-examination of the counting process. The state has three tiger reserves — Similipal, Satakosia and Sunabeda. However, tiger counting in Sunabeda reserve could not be done due to the presence of Maoists in the area.