Monday September 16, 2019
Home Uncategorized Big cat count...

Big cat count in Odisha, Maoist causing inconvenience


New Delhi: With the beginning of February, the Odisha government is all set to began its ‘big cat count’ while the authorities plan to skip the Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary that has lately turned into a hot-bed for the Maoist.

The tiger censusin the sanctuary, in Nuapada district, has not been conducted since 2004 after it became a part of the Red Corridor. The sanctuary, accorded in-principle status as tiger reserve by the centre in 2014, is spread over 600 sq km but has still failed to attract wildlife enthusiasts and tourists due to the fear of ultras, who have killed several people, including forest guards and police officers in and around the reserve.

With the presence of central security forces, the government is, however, hopeful this time to conduct a census and combat the Maoist menace.

“We are hopeful of conducting the tiger census this time. There is the presence of central forces besides police forces. If any untoward incidents occur, we may skip the counting. But as of now, we are certain to go for the counting,” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) S S Srivastav.

Sunabeda was home to 32 tigers and 36 leopards, according to the 2004 tiger census. The current number is unknown since there was no count in 2010. Same was the situation in 2014 and no census was conducted even though the Wildlife Institute of India had done so in the Similipal and Salkosia tiger reserves.

Sunabeda, 1983 declared sanctuary, not only the home of tigers also provides shelter to hyenas, baring deer, chital, gaur, sambar, sloth bear, hill myna, pea fowl, partridge and a number of reptilian species.

Officials accept, the funds allotted for the preservation of the big cats is not being utilized properly due to the fear of the ultras.

Forest department sources said the presence of Maoists in the sanctuary first came to light in 2008 when the rebels started holding motivational meetings in villages of the region. In subsequent years, they started targeting local leaders, wildlife and forest officials.

The guerrillas have also destroyed government infrastructure. Sources revealed that the first major violence by the guerrillas was reported in May 2012 when they ambushed a police party and killed nine policemen, including an additional superintendent of police, inside the sanctuary.

At present, the CRPF troopers and Cobra (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) personnel have been deployed at Barkot, Jamgaon, Sunabeda and Soseng villages in the region.

Sources in the forest department also said there has been a constant fall in the number of visitors owing to the Maoist menace. The department recorded 22,000 footfalls between 2001 and 2005. The figure dipped to 2009 between 2006 and 2009. In 2010 and 2011, only 815 tourists visited the place. No tourist has visited the area since 2012.

Only 28 tigers have been reported in the state according to The All India Tiger Estimation Report-2014, which the Odisha forest department refused to buy and decided to conduct its own counting, hoping to find 60 animals in the state.

“We do not accept the report which put the number of tigers at 28. The report was only based on the data from the Similipal National Park. It did not take into account the tigers in other forests like Atgarh and Kuldhia. The number of big cats in the state would be around 60,” said Srivastava.(IANS)

Next Story

Government: Census Enumerators Expected to Cover 13 Million Households

This is according to Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho who made the announcement at a press conference on Monday

Government, Census, Enumerators
Interior PS Karanja Kibicho and various government officials address a press conference on the progress of the 2019 census on August 26,2019.


The government on Monday stated that each of the enumerators mandated with carrying out the census is expected to have covered 100 households by the end of the exercise. Census.

This is according to Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho who made the announcement at a press conference on Monday where he also stated that the government will put every effort to ensure the exercise is completed by the set date of August 31, 2019.

A quick skim through the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) website revealed that census personnel include 2,467 ICT supervisors, 22,268 content supervisors and 138,572 enumerators.

Hence if each of the 138,572 enumerators covers 100 households then it would reveal that the government is targeting to account for at least 13,857,000 households.

Government, Census, Enumerators
The government on Monday stated that each of the enumerators mandated with carrying out the census is expected to have covered 100 households by the end of the exercise. Pixabay

“We have a foolproof system to deter false information and altering of numbers. We are expecting that by end of the 7 days each enumerator should have covered 100 households,” said the PS.

He also added that at least 35 cases of a section of Kenyan citizens obstructing the enumeration exercise have already been reported, with a few of them already in court.

“It’s against the law for anyone to stop enumerators to do their work,” said PS Kibicho, adding that action will be taken against area administrators found to be involved in boycotting of the exercise.

He further thanked bar and restaurant owners for heeding to the call to shut down their premises by 5PM for the first two days of the exercise; Saturday and Sunday.

Also Read- Growing Environmental Concerns over Concrete

The PS also gave the business owners the green light to resume operations saying the establishments can be open Monday from 5PM.

“For Kenyans who have not been counted you still have time that is up to August 31…We expect that by then each household will have been visited.”

“We have agreed as inter-ministerial committee to extend working hours from 6am to 10pm in urban areas such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu, Kakamega, Kisii, Machakos, Thika,” he stated.