BHUBANESWAR: Odisha has lost at least six Royal Bengal Tigers (RBTs) and 49 leopards in the last decade, informed forest and environment minister Pradip Kumar Amat to the Assembly on Tuesday.
He said of these deaths, at least 29 are due to poaching.
Answering the question of member Taraprasad Bahinipati in writing, the minister said at least six RBTs have died in the state in the last 10 years, between 2012-13 and 2021-22, of which 3 were due to poaching.
Similarly, he said, 49 leopards have also lost their lives in the state during the period, of which 26 were due to poaching. Wildlife experts, however, said that the number could be even more as the Special Task Force (STF) of Odisha Police alone has seized around 30 leopard skins and a tiger skin in the last three years.
The minister said as per the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) report released in 2018, Odisha has 28 RBTs and 760 leopards.
In another reply, Amat told the assembly that the combined population of tigers and leopards in the Similipal tiger reserve and Satkosia tiger reserve in the State is 133 and 48 respectively.
The minister said measures are being taken by the state government to increase the big cat population in Odisha. The government, apart from implementing two tiger projects, has also formed anti-poaching camps and deployed special squads and foot patrolling squads. Measures are also being taken to develop meadows to increase the prey base of the big cats, the minister said. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)