Bhubaneswar: With wildlife experts in Odisha summarily rejecting the recent tiger census report released by the Centre, a senior government functionary on Thursday said the state will conduct its own survey in the summer of 2020.
“We hope there are more tigers in Odisha than the Centre’s estimate. We will carry out our own survey during the next summer using the pugmark method and camera trap,” Chief Wildlife Warden, Ajay Kumar Mohapatra said. He rejected the Ministry of Environment and National Tiger Conservation Authority report that put the number of tigers in Odisha at 28, a figure which remained unchanged since the last census in 2014.
According to Mohapatra, the modern method of camera trap alone is insufficient to arrive at the correct number of tigers in Odisha jungles. Camera traps, he added, remain ineffective in the remote areas of Similipal forest reserve or in the Sunebeda region.
Besides, the central study has not covered new territories in Sundargarh district and Rayagada where tiger spotting has been recorded, he said.
Tiger expert Lala A K Singh also rejected the method adopted for conducting the tiger census, saying the camera trap method does not work well in the jungles of Odisha.
Odisha was the first state in the country which proposed the pugmark method. Based on this method, the Centre declared the nine tiger reserves in the country. It remains unclear why the Centre has shifted to camera trap method, he said.
According to the Central report, the tiger population in India in stood at 2967 in 2018, a 33 per cent jump in the last four years.
Madhya Pradesh was identified as the state with the largest number of tiger population at 526, followed by Karnataka at 524 and Maharashtra at 312.