BHUBANESWAR: THE State Government has strongly impressed upon National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to bring the entire Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) under the scope of census when the All-India Tiger Estimation takes place next year.
Currently, NTCA employs a sampling method basing on the sign survey after which camera traps are installed to capture the tiger images. Using the outcomes of the multi-level assessment, the estimation of the big cats is extrapolated.
In 2014, the estimation had pegged the number of big cats in the State at 28, four less than the 2010 enumeration which had raised the heckles of the State Government. The very fact that the national survey showed a decline in tiger number in the State, most of which are recorded in STR, the Government has requested the apex tiger conservation body to employ a different plan for 2018 census.
Sources said, at a meeting with NTCA at New Delhi on Tuesday, the State team led by Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray suggested that the sampling method is not representative of Smilipal’s tiger population and the entire reserve - at least a bigger area - must be covered during the enumeration.
Last year, the Forest and Environment Department had conducted its own survey to counter the NTCA figures and came up with a population of 40, of which 29 were stated to be in STR landscape.
“The Forest Department had used pug mark method and then installed over 420 camera traps in Similipal to ascertain accuracy of the tiger number. Why can not the number of camera traps be increased by NTCA and over a bigger area,” said official sources.
Sources said any decision to cover the entire STR area will rest on the NTCA because the agency uses a uniform methodology for enumeration across all the tiger reserves of the country. “There can be similar demands from other States. So, we will have to wait for NTCA’s decision,” said the sources. The All-India Tiger Estimation is conducted every four years across the tiger reserves of the country.
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The 2014 estimation had raised the heckles of the State Government
The Government has requested the apex tiger conservation body to employ a different plan for
Last year, the Forest and Environment Department had conducted its own survey to counter the NTCA figures and came up with a population of 40, of which 29 were stated to be in STR landscape