Odisha is home to 30 Royal Bengal Tigers; head count increases in FY 2023-24: Census Report

Bhubaneswar: Odisha has 30 Royal Bengal Tigers (RBTs) in different forests, of which at least 27 are in Similipal Wildlife Sanctuary of Mayurbhanj district alone. Similarly, the State has around eight RBT cubs below the age of a year, a tiger census report revealed today.

There is one RBT each in Keonjhar, Paralakhemundi, and Hirakud forests. A total of 13 male and 14 female RBTs were spotted in Similipal forest during the head count carried out in FY 2023-24.

However, the presence of three tigers identified in Similipal was not confirmed in the camera trap.

Taking to his personal ‘X’ handle, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote, “Glad to share that first All Odisha Tiger Estimation has established the presence of 30 tigers and 8 cubs in the forests of #Odisha, up from 20 reported during 2022. #Similipal Tiger Reserve is now home to 27 tigers. Commend @ForestDeptt for its sustained effort to create a hospitable habitat for our national animal to flourish.”

Notably, Similipal is the only place on earth to boast the pseudo-melanistic tigers.

The big cat head count spanned across 47 forest divisions and aimed at much more intensive state-level tiger monitoring.

A state-level field survey was conducted to look for tiger signs such as pugmarks, scrapes, scats, rakes, urine spray, vocalisation, and livestock depredation.

Sites, where the direct and indirect signs of tigers were found with certainty, were intensively camera-trapped to arrive at the minimum number of unique adult tigers based on their distinctive stripe pattern.

Camera trap image-based identification of tigers is a scientifically accepted methodology and is also used in the All India Tiger Estimation exercises.

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