Odisha Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray on Saturday said Royal Bengal Tigers have been sighted at three new forest divisions of the state.
The tigers were found at Hemagiri forest in Sundargarh, Debrigad Wildlife Century in Hirakud and Munigada in Rayagada district, said Routray.
The presence of tigers has been confirmed through pictures captured in cameras and pug marks.
"The sighting of tigers in other places apart from the tiger reserves is certainly good news.
It is suspected that the tigers either could have strayed from other states or were present in the state, but not detected earlier, " said the Minister.
"There are around 60 Royal Bengal Tigers in Odisha.
However, they were not earlier sighted at these three places.
Our forests have huge potential and the population of tigers will definitely increase in future, " he added.
The Minister also said that efforts are on to declare Sunabeda, some parts of Sundergarh and Debrigarh as new tiger reserves in the state.
Earlier, the Odisha government was at loggerheads with the central government after the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had estimated the number of Royal Bengal Tigers in Odisha at 28 in 2015.
Countering the NTCA's All India Tiger Estimation Report - 2014, the state government had conducted a census in 2016, which claimed that there was the presence of 40 Royal Bengal Tigers in the state.