Bhubaneswar, July 29 (LocalWire): The population of tigers in the state has remained static for the last four years contrary to countrywide increase of nearly 33% since the last census in 2014. This was despite tigers being listed as endangered by the IUCN Red Date Book and enjoying protected status under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972,
As per the all India tiger estimation report 2018 released today, Odisha is home to 28 Royal Bengal tigers but there has been no increase in their population despite government’s claim of conservation measures.
‘In 2014, the countrywide population of big cats was recorded at 2,226.
As per the 22018 count released today, it’s risen to 2,967 nationally.
But its worrying that in Odisha, their population is still recorded at 28,’ Anup Kumar Nayak, additional director, National Tiger Conservation Authority told LocalWire on International Tiger Day, today.
Besides Odisha, where there is no increase in the past four years, Chattishgarh and the north-eastern states registered a downward trend.
The factors for such trend are being examined by NTCA researchers, he said.
The Similipal Tiger Reserve in Mayurbhanj and the Satokosia Tiger Reserve in Angul district are two known habitats of the big cat in the state.
A male and female pair tiger was released in Satakosia as part of interstate tiger translocation programme to increase the big cats’ population.
‘We are quite optimistic that it will come out successful despite setbacks.
The NTCA and Odisha forest department are working in cohesion and in a coordinated manner for the success of tiger conservation programme,’ he added.
Conservationists, however, are of the view that human interference and drop in prey base has led to the non-increase in the tiger population.
‘There is continued pressure due to human population expansion into the tiger’s habitat as well as the loss of larger prey species of the tiger,’ said wildlife activist Monalisa Bhujabal.
‘Similipal holds the maximum promise for the future of tigers in our state.
It harbours a unique population of melanistic tigers but faces major conservation challenges due to immense human pressure and poaching,’ she added.
‘We need better surveillance measures, more information gathering and better coordination among various government departments and civil society groups and above all a far-reaching confidence building with the local communities to protect our tiger population,’ Bhujabal said.