Presence of tigers traced in 3 new places in Odisha: Minister

Bhubaneswar: Amidst the ongoing tug of war between the Odisha government and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) over tiger population, State Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray today informed that Royal Bengal Tigers have been sighted at three new forest divisions of the State.

Official sources said that presence of tigers have been confirmed through pictures captured in cameras installed at Hemagiri forest division in Sundergarh, Debrigarh in Hirakud and Muniguda of Rayagada district.

The sighting of tigers in these areas is certainly good news for environmentalists as concerns were being flagged after the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had estimated the number of Royal Bengal Tigers in Odisha at 28 in 2015.

Later, Odisha government had conducted a census in 2016 and claimed that there were 40 Royal Bengal Tigers in the State.

“The sighting of tigers in other places apart from the tiger reserves is certainly good news. It is suspected that the tigers either could have strayed from Chhattisgarh or were present in the State, but not detected earlier,” said Routray.

Routray further claimed that now through camera trap method, the pictures of tigers have been captured.

Odisha government further claimed that presence of Royal Bengal Tigers is an indicator of good ecological balance. Efforts are on to declare Sunabeda, some parts of Sundergarh and Debrigarh as new tiger reserves in the State.

Following the repeated sighting of tigers in new areas, forest officials have been alerted and directed to intensify patrolling in these areas.

“With the detection of tigers in new areas, the tiger population in the State could be over 60,” Routray added.