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Sign survey begins at Similipal sanctuary

Bhubaneswar: The authorities of Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) have started the process to undertake an annual sign survey of wild animals in the national park of Mayurbhanj district from Monday.
According to Bikash Ranjan Das, deputy director, STR project, "The survey, being conducted from April 22 to April 27, will help to get an estimation of both herbivore and carnivore wild animals. This 6-day survey will also keep a close watch on wildlife population of the 2750 sq km sanctuary."
Sources said 178 units would be carrying out the survey in four divisions — STR, Baripada, Rairangpur and Karanjia. Data will be prepared on the basis of scats, dung, pug marks and food remains of a particular animal. The sign survey will be done in two phases. In the first phase, carnivores like leopard and Royal Bengal Tiger will be taken into consideration while signs of herbivores like deer and spotted deer will be collected in another phase.
Meanwhile, there has been a row over the population of Royal Bengal tiger in STR for the last several years. Using pugmark method the STR authorities had counted 101 tigers in 2004, their number came down to 61 in 2009 census. The number was further challenged by National Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institution of India, which indicated that STR has approximately 23 tigers as per 2010 census that was conducted by camera trap method.
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