Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Tiger census began across Odisha on Friday. According to sources, along with Kuldiha Sanctuary, census is being conducted at 27 units of Nilagiri and Soro forest ranges.

In Nilagiri, census is being done across 5,904 hectares of reserve forests. In Nilagiri’s eight units, three foresters and eight forest guards have been assigned for the census.

In various places, pug impression pad (PIP) is being made for capturing pug marks of tigers for census.

Angul Circle RCCF Anup Kumar Nayak said, "The pug impression pad has been made at different places where tiger and other carnivores make movement. At different places, 219 cameras are also installed to trap to movement of the big cat."

In six ranges under Jeypore forest division of Koraput district where Maoist menace looms large.

The census will be carried out for six days for which 106 teams, each having three members, have been formed, said A K Kar, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Jeypore.

"Though Maoist activities have increased in Boipariguda and Gupteswar forest ranges in recent times, it will not hamper our census work. In risky areas our men will take the help of local 'Vana Surakhya Samities'," Kar said, adding the participants are well-equipped to carry out the census.

The census would focus on deer, leopard, tiger, hyena and bear. Special focus would be on tiger and leopard, the DFO said.

"We have studied the movements of wild animals to carry out the census efficiently. They move from place to place depending on the availability of food and water. We have imparted several techniques to the officials to help them identify and count wild animals," he said.

As many as 148 water bodies have been identified across Jeypore, Boipariguda, Gupteswar, Kundura, Borigumma and Kotpad forest ranges and pressure impression pads have been laid in several places to spot the pugmarks.

While the first three days of census will focus on carnivores, the remaining three days would be devoted to the census of other animals.