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Project Elephant
Project Tiger
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Similipal Biosphere Reserve
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The Beginning: "Project Tiger", a major wildlife-conservation initiative of Govt. of India, was launched in the year 1973 to save the Indian tiger from extinction. Similipal Tiger Reserve was one of the nine reserves chosen in the country to implement the project. With focus on the tiger, which is a 'master predator' and an 'indicator species' of the ecosystem, the project has paid attention to all issues relating to conservation of habitat in the tiger reserves.
(Government of India Project Tiger): www.projecttiger.nic.in

Some of the field activities under the aegis of Project Tiger cover the following:
·       Enforcement of anti-poaching measures.
·       Census and estimate of the numbers of carnivores, their prey animals.
·       Habitat improvement measures,
·       Water and soil conservation measures
·       Ecodevelopment programmes and organization of alternate livelihood,
·       Motivation and awareness of local people,
·       Eliciting participation of students through nature camps and competitions.
·       Capacity building of staff,
·       Development of telecommunication and road network
·       Development and maintenance of other infrastructure
·       Research, planning and monitoring of wildlife population and spatial distribution.
·       Management of ecotourism

The population of tiger in Odisha has increased from 142 in 1972 to 192 in 2004. Though only 35% increase over 32-years, this is perhaps the best that could happen to tiger in the wild. The Elephant Reserve network comes in aid of the objectives of Project Tiger as the former encompasses tiger habitat also. Two additional areas, Sunabeda and Satkoshia-Baisipalli Sanctuaries, have come under the network of Tiger Reserves.

Similipal Tiger Reserve, in Mayurbhanj district holds about 50% of tiger population in the state. Less than thirty tigers were surviving here of the year 1975. Sustained protection measures and management initiatives have resurrected the dwindling population of tigers to around 95 in the 1990s and therefore the population has remained stable around 100. Yet, most of the tigers from north Similipal are moving to south Similipal that remains a better habitat, and the leopards, more adaptable than the tiger, are appearing in most of the habitats vacated by tiger. These observations suggest that Similipal habitat may be reaching the maximum of its carrying capacity in tiger. The future seems depend on adjoining forests of Hadgarh and Kuldiha that are better known as elephant habitats. The Tiger Reserve exists from 1973, and the notification as per NTCA guidelines (2006-2007) has been issued by Government of Odisha, Forest and Environment Department no. 8F(T)-9/2007/20801/F&E, Bhubaneswar, dt. 31 December, 2007. The total area of the TR is 2750 sq.km., and it includes a core area or 'Critical Tiger Habitat' extending over 1194.75 sq.km.

Tiger is only an indicator species but the project in Similipal has provided incidental conservation to the entire biota contained in these forests. The giant squirrel (Ratufa indica) of the upper tree canopy, the mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) in the rivers of Similipal, and the 94-species of orchid flora are only a few that 'indicate' the positive impact of Project Tiger on the health of the ecosystem, and the prevailing microclimate of Similipal.

Major threats to Similipal centre round four lakh people living in the periphery and ten thousand people living inside it. Most of them 'use' Similipal to make a living, and the population continues to rise at a rate of 20% for each decennial period. Similipal presents an accurate reflection of the declining status of a habitat in the face of growth of human population.

 

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Research during the first decade of Project Tiger in Similipal centered about Khairi, the pet tigress. It was an in vivo study round-the-clock and has provided an insight into the biology and about an uncommon man-tiger relationship. From the late 1980s emphasis has been laid on research and development of other schemes on conservation and people that have ensured a better future for Similipal. About 200 write-ups and papers relating to tigers, elephants, crocodiles, wildlife management and techniques have been published during these years. Guidelines authored by officers of Similipal have been published for all-India application. The Research Officer of Similipal was awarded the first WWF-Tiger Conservation Award, 1999 for outstanding and innovative work in tiger conservation. Besides, studies on Melanistic and Black tigers have brought Similipal on international map and to the cyber-world.

Sunabeda (Proposed) Tiger Reserve, has received 'in-principle-approval' of the National Tiger Conservation Authority. Proposals for its notification as per NTCA-guidelines is under preparation. The proposed TR extends over 956.17sq.km area (Longitude - 82o20'0" to 82o34'48" East and Latitude 20o06'0" to 20o44'0" North), in Nawapara district bordering the state of Chhatisgarh to the west of Odisha, and encompasses the Sunabeda Sanctuary (591.75Sq.kms) and the Patdhara forest block to its south (364.42Sq.kms). The reserve holds 36 tigers as per population estimate of January 2004. The Udanti and Sitanadi sanctuaries of Chhatisgarh on the west are almost contiguous with Sunabeda.

The faunal characteristics of the proposed Sunabeda Tiger Reserve include a population of wild buffalo migrating between Odisha and Chhatisgarh. The status of the 'hard-ground Barasingha' endemic to the Sunabeda plateau is uncertain at present. The four major carnivores in the plateau are tiger, leopard, wolf and wild dog. The prey base of herbivores has sustained the rising trend of carnivore population.

Sunabeda is approachable from Nuapada by road (Barkote 44 kms, Bharuamunda 27 kms. and Tanwat 9 kms from Nuapada). The Nearest Railway Station is Khariar Road (10 kms. from Nuapada) on Raipur-Vizayanagaram route (S. E. Railway).
(For more information visit site: PROTECTEDAREAS.htm)


The Satkoshia-Baisipalli (Proposed) Tiger Reserve, encompassing the Satkoshia Gorge Sanctuary constituted in May 1976 and the Baisipalli Sanctuary constituted in November 1981, owes its conceptualization and status to the wetland fauna (Gharial, Mugger, freshwater turtles, freshwater shark etc.) in the Mahanadi and biodiversity in the terrestrial ecosystem. Pugmark tracking conducted in January 2004 revealed the presence of 18 tigers and 36 leopards in the twin-sanctuaries constituting the proposed Tiger Reserve.

The TR is located in the Central Zone of Odisha and spreads over Angul, Cuttack, Nayagarh and Boudh districts covering an area of 963.87sq.kms and comprises of Moist Deciduous Forests, Dry Mixed Deciduous Forest, Bamboo Brakes, Dry Tropical Riparian Forest and Teak Plantations.

Satkoshia Gorge is the home of the most endangered Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), the Mugger crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris) and a variety of freshwater turtles. Other faunal elements include Leopard, Wild dog, Gaur, Nilgai, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Bear, Ratel, Jackal, Porcupine, Indian Hare, and Giant Squirrel etc. A viable but stabilized population of about 155 elephants thrives in this region which forms a part of the Mahanadi Elephant Reserve.

Both the resident as well as migratory birds are found in this sanctuary. The resident birds include the Hornbills, Peafowl, Kingfishers, Egrets, Cormorants, River Tern, Owls, Pigeons, Myna, Parakeets, Drongo, Doves, Woodpecker, Gulls, Golden Oriole, Vultures, Babblers, Barbets, Minivets, Sun Bird, Eagle, Crow Pheasants etc. The migratory birds include Brahminy Ducks, Bar Headed Geese etc.
(For more information visit site: PROTECTEDAREAS.htm)


 


In order to determine the tiger population of Odisha in 2004, Pugmark Tracking was conducted in all Forest Divisions of the state during 05 to 10 January. As per the standard practice, training programmes were organised at the state level on 03 December 2003 followed by training programmes at the level of different Circles, Divisions and Ranges. Field data in the form of tiger pugmark tracings and plaster-casts were subjected to preliminary analysis in the field in Ranges, followed by Divisions and Circles. The final analysis and elimination of overlaps were carried out at the office of the CWLW during 02 February to 08 March 2004, on the basis of which the minimum numbers of tigers and leopard in each Division were determined.

ü Odisha State holds a minimum 192 tigers (Male: 57, Female: 75 and cubs: 60) and 487 leopards (Male: 196, Female: 248 and cubs: 43).
ü The total population of tigers and leopards in Odisha is continuing to rise from the year 2000.
ü Sunabeda (Proposed) Tiger Reserve holds 32 tigers and 36 leopards, while the adjoining Khariar Division holds 4 tigers and 3 leopards. Thus, the proposed Sunabeda Tiger Reserve is gaining by having the second best concentration of the large cats.
ü Similipal has 94 tigers in the core area and 7 in the buffer and its immediate periphery. The tigers in Similipal are mostly in the southern part of the core. Such southward shift of the population has been gradual since 1990s. This is alarming because the habitat in south-core may be surpassing its carrying capacity and there may be too high a concentration in a small area.
ü As a single management-unit, Similipal continues to hold the highest number of tigers (Male: 27, Female: 39, Cub: 28, Total: 94). It is followed by Sunabeda (Proposed Tiger Reserve) with 11 males, 10 females and 11 cubs (Total 32). The Satkoshia-Baisipalli (Proposed) Tiger Reserve representing the Satkoshia WL Division and Mahanadi WL Division together hold 18 tigers.

 

TIGER POPULATION
IN DIFFERENT FOREST DIVISIONS OF Odisha: JANUARY 200
4

All Odisha Tiger/Leopard Census 2004

Page-1of 2

date: 08 March 2004

TIGER

LEOPARD

Male Female Cub Total Male Female Cub Total

Bhawanipatna Circle:

               

Sunabeda

11 10 11 32 14 17 5 36

Khariar

1 2 1 4 1 2 0 3

Kalahandi(N)

0 0 0 0 2 5 1 8

Kalahandi (S)

0 1 0 1 0 5 0 5

Balangir (E)

0 0 0 0 1 2 0 3

Balangir(W)

0 0 0 0 1 3 2 6
Sub-Total 12 13 12 37 19 34 8 61

Koraput Circle

               

Jeypore (incl tigers of Malkangiri)

1 1 0 2 9 7 1 17

Rayagada

2 1 0 3 5 5 1 11

Malkanagiri (Tigers with Jeypore)

0 0 0 0 5 4 1 10

Nawarangpur

0 0 0 0 1 2 0 3

Koraput

1 1 0 2 4 6 1 11
Sub-Total 4 3 0 7 24 24 4 52

Angul Circle

               

Satkosia(WL)

4 6 1 11 9 9 1 19

Angul

0 0 0 0 2 2 0 4

Dhenkanal

0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2

Athagarh

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Athmalik

0 0 0 0 6 8 2 16

Cuttack

0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
Sub-Total 4 6 1 11 19 20 3 42

Sambalpur Circle

               

Sambalpur(S)

0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2

Sambalpur(N)

0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2

Rairakhole

0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2

Bamra WL

1 1 0 2 7 8 1 16

Hirakud WL

2 3 0 5 10 11 0 21

Bargarh

0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
Sub-Total 3 4 0 7 21 21 2 44

Bhubaneswar Circle

               

Nayagarh

0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2

Mahanadi WL

3 2 2 7 7 8 0 15

Chandka

0 0 0 0 4 4 0 8

Khurda

0 0 0 0 4 4 0 8
Sub-Total 3 2 2 7 17 16 0 33

Berhampur Circle

               

Berhampur

0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1

Ghumsur(S)

0 1 1 2 4 4 0 8

Ghumsur(N)

0 2 6 8 25 21 3 49

Phulbani

0 0 2 2 4 11 2 17

Boudh

0 1 2 3 6 6 0 12

Parlakhemundi

0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2

Balliguda

3 1 2 6 4 5 0 9
Sub-Total 3 5 13 21 46 47 5 98

All Odisha Tiger/Leopard Census 2004

Page-2 of 2

Rourkela Circle

               

Anandpur(WL)

0 0 0 0 0 2 1 3

Sundargarh

0 0 0 0 3 6 1 10

Bonai

0 0 0 0 2 6 0 8

Raurkela

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Deogarh

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Keonjhar

0 0 0 0 0 4 0 4

Rourkela C. Total

               
(Rupees Fifty Thousand Only)                
Sub-Total 0 0 0 0 5 18 2 25

STR Circle

               

Similipal

27 39 28 94 32 50 18 100

Baripada

0 0 2 2 4 9 0 13

Karanjia

1 1 0 2 4 3 1 8

Rairangpur

0 1 2 3 4 2 0 6

Bhadrak WL

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Balasore WL

0 1 0 1 1 4 0 5
Sub-Total 28 42 32 102 45 68 19 132

Summary

               

Bhawanipatna Circle:

12 13 12 37 19 34 8 61

Koraput Circle

4 3 0 7 24 24 4 52

Angul Circle

4 6 1 11 19 20 3 42

Sambalpur Circle

3 4 0 7 21 21 2 44

Berhampur Circle

3 5 13 21 46 47 5 98

Rourkela Circle

0 0 0 0 5 18 2 25

Bhubaneswar Circle

3 2 2 7 17 16 0 33

STR Circle

28 42 32 102 45 68 19 132

Odisha Total

57 75 60 192 196 248 43 487

 

Improvements to the Tiger Census Technique have been made during 1990s with several refinements to the existing method of 'pugmark tracking'. The technique for assessing the population of tiger and leopard is now more robust. With proper implementation, it has been possible to know the spatial distribution of large cats, their population composition and the trend of the population.

Improvements Made to Pugmark Tracking since 1990.
· Clarity and Transparency has been introduced through non-official participation.
· The entire procedure has been simplified to make it intelligible to all field level staff.
· There is now adequate verifiability through laying of PIP (Pug Impression Pads).
· Standardisation have been made of
(a) Season / unit / route/ PIP, (b) Data collection procedure, (c) Training need, (d) Analysis procedure, and (e) Data presentation.
· There is availability of the entire procedure in print in English and Hindi.
· Ongoing process to make available illustrated Pocket Books for field level workers.
· A beginning has also been made to make available the procedure in local language. It is now already there in Oriya.
· An experimental approach has been made to develop a video film in Oriya for use during training.
· Printed materials have been produced in various forms like Trainers Reference Sheets, Tracking guideline and Pictorial Field Guide for FG.

 

 

 

 

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