Third phase of Tiger census through camera-trap method underway in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The third phase of tiger census through camera-trap method is underway in Odisha with the Forest Department now hopeful on the rise in headcount of the big cats after controversy during the last census held during 2014 and 2016.

This time, the Forest Department is making sure that the tiger census is factual and without any conflicting numbers. For this, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is supervising the whole activity in association with the employees of the Forest Department.

According to department sources, the tiger census is being carried out through camera trap method after the manual and satellite imagery method of counting in the first and second phase of counting concluded.

While the headcount process is almost complete in several areas, the census is underway in south and western Odisha.

Sources said, the tiger census might come up with increased numbers of the big cats since the counting is being done with the inclusion of all districts. The forest department had also earlier revealed the presence of new tigers in four different locations in the state.

According to the sources, the results of the current tiger census will be presented to WII which will publish the tiger count data through statistical modelling.

“New areas like Khariar and Sunabeda which were left out because of LWE, have now been added in the current census. This year we have done the complete exercise as per their protocol and there is no reason for any conflict or controversy with National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) over tiger figures. We will have a mutually acceptable figure that should be positive,” Chief Wildlife Warden Sandeep Tripathi said.

Meanwhile, Wildlife expert Bijay Ketan Patnaikhas voiced optimism for the new tiger. He said “The rule for statistical design is that when the sample base is large, the results will be more accurate. The current figures might match the previous government data of 40 tigers or can be more. There is optimism over increase in the tiger numbers.”