A year after National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) pegged the total number of tigers in Odisha forests at 28, the state government has officially rejected the numbers and said the state’s tiger population was 40.
In January last year, the NTCA, in its tiger population statistics, said Odisha has seen a fall in the number of tigers from 45 in 2006 to 28 in 2015, while the country’s tiger population has increased by 30.5 per cent.
In response, Odisha carried out its own enumeration using camera traps and pug impression pads during February and April this year. This revealed that Similipal National Park in Mayurbhanj district alone had 29 tigers.
The wildlife wing conducted tiger and leopard estimation in eight circles and 46 divisions of the state.
State chief wildlife warden Siddhant Das said that besides the 29 in Mayurbhanj, there are three tigers in Keonjhar Wildlife Division, two in Satkosia Tiger Reserve, four in Sunabeda Wildlife Division and one each in Khariar and Sundargarh divisions. The enumeration said there are 318 leopards in the state.
Dr Biswajit Mohanty, former member of National Board of Wildlife said 40 tigers was hardly a viable population.