Bhubaneswar, Oct 13 (LocalWire): While tiger population has gone up in most of the Indian states, population of big cats are either coming down or lying static over the years in Odisha.
Within the span of a decade, the number of big cats has come drastically in the state’s dense forest cover.
The state has lost as many as 164 tigers. In 2004, the state had claimed the presence of 192 tigers which came down to 28 in 2014.
The Similipal Tiger Reserve in Mayurbhanj and the Satokosia Tiger Reserve in Angul district are the two known habitats of the big cat in the state.
Similipal Tiger Reserve, which houses 26 tigers, is hit by rampant poaching of herbivores, the big cats’ principal food chain, said conservationist, Biswajit Mohanty.
Satkosia Tiger Reserve witnessed an ill-advised venture into tiger tourism in June, 2018 which went horribly wrong within two months as one of the two tigers relocated from Madhya Pradesh was poached and the other had to be caught and brought back into an enclosure after it attacked humans, he said.
The ministry of environment and forest had approved Sunabeda wildlife sanctuary the status of a tiger reserve.
But for strange reasons, the state is yet to issue notification in this regard despite several reminders by National Tiger Conservation Authority, he said.
The NTCA proposed to confer tiger reserve status to Sunabeda wildlife sanctuary in Nuapada district and Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary in Bargarh district.
The department is making necessary compliances in this regard for these sanctuaries to get tiger reserve tag, said senior officials of State forest department.
While tigers are in danger in the state, the state of leopards is no better.
These animals are being regularly poached for their skins and body parts.
This is evident from the fact that 11 leopard skins have been seized in the last one-and-a-half-years and as many as 26 men arrested for poaching by the crime branch of police.