The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has accused Jharkhand wildlife department for entrusting untrained frontline staff with conducting tiger census in Palamu Tiger Reserve instead of calling experts.
"A test check showed that annual tiger estimation was being conducted in PTR by untrained frontline staff on the basis of pug marks which is not a very scientific method for Tiger census and therefore unreliable," the CAG report said.
Stating that experts from reputed institutes should have been involved in the estimation process, the report observed that untrained staff following pug marks for estimation was not only "unscientific" but also against the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF).
The MOEF states that a day-to-day compilation of data should be carried out by range offices involving experts at beat guard level to facilitate generation of spatial maps and development of reliable indices of tiger densities, it added.
Revealing that there was no tiger census in 2005, the report said the forest department estimated the tiger population to be in the range of 36 to 38 at PTR.
The population of big cats, which was 55 in 1992, had been reduced to 38 by 2004. "The reasons for the decrease in the number of tigers in PTR was not analysed by the department," the report said.