Odisha To Launch Own Tiger Census From October 15; Training Of Master Trainers Begins

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government is all set to launch an elaborate exercise to conduct its own tiger census in the state every year. The census operation is slated to begin from October 15 and a detailed report on the big cat population is likely to be compiled by the end of January next year.

Odisha government had earlier announced its decision to conduct its own headcount after the All India Tiger Estimation report released in July put the number of Royal Bengal Tigers (RBT) in the state at 20, down from the 45 estimated in 2006.

The Forest department has already started imparting training to 20 master trainers at Chandaka Godibari in Bhubaneswar ahead of the tiger census. The camp is being attended by divisional forest officers (DFOs), according to state’s chief wildlife warden S K Popli.

Stating that ACF, DFO, Rangers and Guards in eight circles will be trained this year, he said three wildlife scientists from Indian Wildlife Institute are imparting training. Pug-mark survey will be carried out from October 15 to 31. About 1,000 camera traps will be installed in eight circles between November 1 and January 15.

Sample of faeces will also be collected for DNA sampling. The exact number of tigers will be reported to the Central government by January 31. Similarly, high-performance cameras will be installed in Satkosia protected forest and Similipal Sanctuary.

This apart, tracking of tiger footprints, movement of tigers by satellite and analysis of DNA samples from tiger excrement, hair will be done to figure out the exact number.

The survey will also be carried out at Kuldiha, Hadgarh, Keonjhar forests which are coming under Similipal region.

Camera traps will also be deployed in Debrigarh, Sunabeda, Udanti forest near Chhattisgarh border, Lamtaput in Koraput, Gunpur area. The forest department has 800 cameras for tiger counting. The department has planned to increase it by 2000 .

The tiger census will be conducted in three phases for which 13 assistant conservators, 21 rangers, 290 forest guards, 380 assistants will be engaged.

As per the latest tiger estimation report, Odisha had 400 leopards and 20 RBTs.

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