Odisha contests MoEF tiger census figure

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Bhubaneswar: Surprised over the recent tiger census report of Union ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) showing a sharp fall in the big cats’ population in Odisha when the enumeration process is still on in the State, the principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) has shot off a letter to the ministry questioning the veracity of its report.

“As of now, two phases (of tiger counting process) are complete and, the third and final phase is going on in Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR). How the final national report can be published without taking into account the number of the final phase,” questioned PCCF (Wildlife) S.S. Srivastav here today.

In his letter to MoEF and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Srivastav has asked to address his concern on the report.

“The report cannot be authentic. Currently, 10 experts from Wildlife Institute of India (WII) are at Similipal with 94 high-tech cameras to record the movement of tigers through camera-trapping. When this third phase will end on January 25, we will send the data to Centre for final report,” he added.

According to the official, the number of tigers in the State should be around 40-45, which is shown 28 in the final census report released by MoEF two days back.

The report said while the total tiger population in the country showed a 30 per cent rise, increasing from 1,706 in 2011 to 2,226 in 2014, the number of tigers in Odisha has declined from 32 to 28.

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