The headcount of tigers and elephants will be conducted together for the first time from next year (2022), Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Odisha, Shashi Paul informed on Thursday.
The decision has been taken in the wake of the Central government's new guideline for elephant and tiger population estimation exercise to be carried out in convergence for the first time in 2022.
As per the 2017 census, Odisha had 1976 elephants while there are a total of around 28 tigers in the State according to 2018 estimate.
PCCF Shashi Paul informed that on average, 15 to 20 jumbos are losing lives every year either naturally, unnaturally or due to numerous factors like conflicts with humans, poaching, and disease.
It is worthwhile to mention here that the tiger census is conducted once in every four years while the head counting of elephants is carried out every five years.
The Union Ministry of Environment on August 12 released population estimation protocol for first scientific estimation of elephant population next year in the lines of the procedure it uses in quadrennial census of the big cats, like using samples, camera trapping and statistical modeling across all the states.
As per the new estimation methodology, the process will involve three phases - ground surveys, analyses of remotely sensed data, and camera traps.
Central government data states that India has at least 27,000 elephants, based on 2017 census, while the country has nearly 3000 tigers as per the most recent 2018-19 survey.
Analysis shows that the distribution range of elephants has expanded in India. The recent population estimation of the Asian elephants shows that their numbers hover around 50k to 60k with India alone accounting for more than 60 percent of the jumbos.
In the case of big cats, India boasts for around 70 percent of the world’s tiger population, and their numbers have doubled even four years ahead of the target period set by the government.
On the reason behind the joint census of the tigers and elephants, the Central government has said that most of the regions inhabited by both the mammals are overlapping by around 90 percent, so a standardized simultaneous census will save cost for the government and also bring uniformity across all the states.