Tiger population in India went up by as much 30% in the three years since 2011, the number of big cats in Odisha plunged to an all time low of just 28, the countrywide tiger survey report released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) revealed.
Odisha, which once boasted of a good number of tigers recorded a decline. At present, there are 28 tigers in the state compared to 32 in 2010 and 45 in 2006.
The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) carried out the survey in three phases by engaging forest officers. The field survey was completed in February-March followed by satellite and camera trap studies in September. Cameras were installed in Similipal and Satkosia forests for the purpose.
“The current estimates are at an all time low of only 28 tigers which indicates that the species is on the way to extinction in the state,” environmentalist Biswajit Mohanty said.
Simlipal and Satkosia are two well known tiger habitats in the state. However, the menace of poaching affects both and there is a steady decline in the prey base in both the Tiger Reserves of the state. The third proposed tiger reserve at Sunabeda is affected by left wing extremism and nobody has estimated the tiger population in that area, pointed out Mohanty.
The state government accords top priority to tigers in Nandankanan Zoo and even wild tigers which stray inside the zoo are captured and kept for breeding purpose instead of being relocated back into the wild.