New Delhi: Tiger population in Odisha saw no improvement while the same declined nearly 60 per cent in Chhattisgarh even as the overall numbers increased significantly, official data released on Monday revealed.
The Status of Tigers in India-2018 report has estimated the total tiger population in the country at 2,967, up from 2,226 in 2014. During the same time span, however, tiger population in the state of Chhattisgarh has gone down from 46 in 2014 to 19 in the latest report, a decline of over 58 per cent. In Odisha, tigers' count has remained stagnant at 28 between the two surveys.
"The poor and continuing decline in tiger status in the states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha is a matter of concern," the report read.
Tiger population in Odisha, only place inhabited by the famous black tigers, has been on a consistent decline since 2006. Their number was estimated to be at 45 in 2006 by the 'National tiger status assessment'. In 2010, it came down to 32 in 2010 before settling at 28 in 2014 and has not improved in the latest report. Interestingly, while the Wildlife Society of Odisha had claimed that there were 101 tigers in the state in 2006, they too estimate the present figure to be 28.
The survey divides the area surveyed under categories based on landscapes. The five categories – Shivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains, Central India and Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats, North East Hills and Brahmaputra Plains, and Sundarbans – cover specific states and provide estimated tiger population in these states since 2006.
Incidentally, the Central Indian Landscape and Eastern Ghats category, under which both Chhattisgarh and Odisha are covered, has seen the largest increase of 50 per cent in tiger population -- from 688 in 2014 to 1,033 in 2018 -- across all categories. This sharp rise has come largely on account of a 70 per cent and 64 per cent increase in tiger population in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, respectively.
MP with 526 tigers also has the highest tiger population across the country with Karnataka a close second at 524 tigers. Other states with substantial tiger population are Uttarakhand (442), Maharashtra (312) and Tamil Nadu (264) among others.
"Madhya Pradesh has registered a substantial increase in their tiger population and along with Karnataka ranks highest in tiger numbers," the report stated.
The fourth cycle National tiger status assessment survey covered 381,400 sq km of forested habitats in 20 tiger occupied states of India. A foot survey of 522,996 km was done for carnivore signs and prey abundance estimation. In these forests, 317,958 habitat plots were sampled for vegetation, human impacts and prey dung.