Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Odisha government has begun tiger census in Similipal Tiger Reserve on Wednesday.

As per reports, the tiger census will be carried out by the forest department in all the areas including Satakosia, Kaptipada and Bisoi under Baripada, Rairangpur and Karanjia sub-divisions in Mayurbhanj district.

The census is being undertaken in three phases. In the first phase, a sign survey will be carried out till October 20. Following that the department will move on to a line-transect survey in the second phase. It will begin on October 25 and continue till October 28.

The third and final phase of the census will be conducted through the camera trapping method. It will start on November 1 till November 25.

The Deputy Director of Similipal Tiger Reserve informed that as many as 700 forest department employees will join the census from more than 200 beat houses in the Similipal forest.

Following Similipal, the forest department will begin a state-wide tiger census from November 1.

As per the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Odisha had 45 tigers in 2006. The number came down to 32 in 2010. The number further declined to 28 in 2018.

However, the State government has a different number to tell. As per the Odisha government census, there were 40 tigers in the State in 2016. As of now, while the NTCA puts the total tiger number in Odisha at 20, the State government says currently it has 25 tigers. 

It is pertinent to mention here that the environmentalists and animal lovers in the State have expressed their concern over the dwindling number of big cats in the tiger reserve.

The NTCA has announced Similipal as the best place for tiger breeding in the country. The authority is spending Rs 12-13 crore every year for the protection of the big cats in the tiger reserve.

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