Poonam Singh

Forest department teams have collected evidence about the presence of three tigers in Odisha's Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary, an official said on Wednesday.

The pugmarks were spotted at the Kuldiha Sanctuary in Balasore district during the enumeration of the big cats in the reserve forest. 

Reportedly, three different pugmarks were spotted at different places indicating presence of big cats. However, the officials are yet to identify if the marks are that of Royal Bengal tigers or leopards.

At the moment, there is no consensus on the official figures of the tigers in the Kuldiha as the headcount exercise which was started on November 26 is still underway and will end on December 3.

The forest officials are hopeful on spotting more big cats in the remaining days of the survey.

Reportedly, trap cameras have been set up to keep a track on presence of the tigers in the forest. The officials also have stepped up their vigil for the protection of these wild cats.

Local Forest Range Officer during a conversation with reporters said that they are sensitizing people visiting Kuldiha Sanctuary to be more alert to prevent any untoward situation in case of any confrontation with tigers.

So far, a good number of direct sightings of wild animals have been recorded during the census exercise. 

Spread across 272.75 sq km in the Chhotanagpur Plateau, Kuldiha Sanctuary is linked with Simlipal National Park via the Sukhupada and Nato hill ranges which is home to a rich collection of flora and fauna including some of the endangered and threatened wild animal species.

The main animals spotted in the sanctuary include elephants, gaur, sambar, bears, giant squirrel, rabbits, hundreds of avian species along with migratory birds and reptiles.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)