Kendrapara, July 30 (LocalWire): According to the full report of the All India Tiger census results of 2018 released on 28th July by the Union Minister for Environment and Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar, the number of tigers in Odisha has not increased.
Across India, the tiger population increased from 2226 in 2014 to 2967 in 2018.
While most states have done well, adding huge numbers in the four-year period, the number has remained unchanged in Odisha at 28.
A total of 141 camera traps were laid in Similipal and 4,400 trap nights were spent in capturing tiger pictures.
Only 8 tigers were recorded within the Reserve though 12 were found utilizing the Reserve as per data collected during 2018-19.
However, the unique feature is that melanistic black tigers were recorded in Similipal which is the only place in the world that has them.
“Since there were 28 tigers in 2014 in Odisha, what happened to the newborn tigers who are more than 1 year old? (The census ignores tiger cubs less than 1 year old as the survival is uncertain).
The state should have added at least 12 to 15 tigers during the last four years. Odisha has a minimum of 10 tigers as recorded in the camera traps.
The only possible explanation is rampant poaching which is taking a heavy toll on tigers in Odisha,” said Biswajit Mohanty, said the secretary of Wildlife Society of Odisha.
In 2002, Odisha had reported 192 wild tigers which included 60 cubs. Excluding the cubs to bring parity with the current count of 2018, there were 132 wild tigers, of which only 28 remain.
So, in 16 years we have lost 104 adult tigers in Odisha though at least Rs. 60 crores has been spent on their protection and management by the state, added Mohanty.
Odisha is the only state that has reported constant figures revealing failure of tiger protection.
Since tigers are good breeders provided there is sufficient prey base and protection from poaching, the state could have easily doubled the tiger numbers to at least 264 in 16 years.
Odisha has excellent habitat and vast forests for tigers to live and flourish. However, rampant poaching of prey base and tigers is taking a heavy toll.
The forest department has miserably failed to control poaching even in Tiger Reserves like Simlipal and Satkosia, hence tigers suffer from a severe lack of food.
“We are examining the report of the NTCA. After examining the report, the state government will issue a statement on the report, said the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Wildlife, Harisankar Upadhaya”.