Friday September 29 2006 11:57 IST
BHUBANESWAR: Population of big cats has witnessed a gradual rise in Orissa during the past few years. Not only tigers, number of leopards has gone up, Chief Wildlife Warden Suresh Chandra Mohanty said here on Thursday.
Stating that the total number of tigers in Orissa stands at 192 as per 2004 census, he said the leopard count is 487.
In 2000, the leopards numbered 322, while tiger population stood at 166. The numbers jumped to 457 and 173 respectively in 2002.
Addressing the mediapersons here on Thursday, Mohanty said the latest picture on the status of the large cats could emerge only after the current evaluation is complete.
The third phase work is going on as part of the National Tiger Habitat and Population Evaluation System currently underway across the country. In the first phase, evidence of big cats, their co-predators and prey base were recorded. The mapping was conducted in the subsequent one.
As many as 927 leopard evidences and 738 tiger signs were recorded during the first phase.
Mohanty said currently the Wildlife Institute of India is carrying out a intensive search at three sites - Similipal, Sunabeda and Satkosia.
Of the three, Similipal is a Project Tiger area. Satkosia has already been selected for the tag, but is yet to be notified by the State Government.
New-age techniques like camera-trap; DNA analysis and radio metrology would be adopted during the stage. It will only be by the end of 2007 that results would be known.
“Before that it would be premature to guess anything,” he said.
The Chief Wildlife Warden also informed that Forest Department would adopt the pugmark impression pad (PIP) method early next year for a separate enumeration.