Bhubaneswar, July 16 (LocalWire): The state forest department and the National Tiger Conservation Authority have decided to rewild Sundari, the tigress that was translocated from Madhya Pradesh as part of tiger reintroduction programme in Satkosia Tiger Reserve.
The tigress was tranquilized after a fortnight-long chase and tracking in November, last year and since then it is held captive in an enclosure.
‘There is every possibility that the animal, with prolonged stay in captivation and in an alien terrain, may forget its wild instinct.
It has, thus, been decided to relocate the tigress to a wider and spacious enclosure with adequate herbivorous prey base,’ said Anup Kumar Nayak, member secretary, NTCA.
‘We held discussions with senior officials of the state forest department yesterday and issued advisories to the forest department for the success of the country’s first-ever inter-state tiger translocation project in Satkosia Tiger Reserve despite periodic setbacks,’ he added.
The tigress is now confined in a two hectare-stretch enclosure in Satakosia. Plans are afoot to relocate Sundari to a 25 hectare enclosure in Mahanadi wildlife division. Sundari will be kept captive in the new enclosure for at least 12 months so that it could adapt to the new environs.
The human-tiger conflict had gone from bad to worse ever since the government released a pair of adult Royal Bengal Tigers into the Satakosia forest as part of the inter-state tiger translocation project. Sundari had also allegedly killed a human in October last year.
People’s anger against the tiger conservation project is, therefore, on a steady rise. While the project is still continuing despite violent protests, locals rue that human life is jeopardised in the name of tiger conservation. The ambitious translocation programme had suffered another setback with a tiger, translocated from Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, being found dead in forest areas in November last year.
‘The male and female tiger translocation was done to increase the big cats’ population. We are quite optimistic that it will come out successful despite setbacks. The NTCA and Odisha forest department cohesion and coordinated manner for the success of tiger conservation programme, Nayak said.
Satkosia is home to two tigers despite its rich tiger-friendly prey base and eco-system.
According to the 2016 tiger census, Odisha has only 40 Royal Bengal Tigers and 318 leopards. The 40 RBTs comprise 13 males, 24 females and three calves. At least 24 RBTs are there alone in Similapal forest division while only one in Sundergarh forest division and two (one male and a female) at Satkosia forest division.
To create congenial and human-interference-free environs for big cats or Royal Bengal Tigers, the forest department had relocated the residents from core area of Satkosia Tiger Reserve ahead of the launch of the interstate tiger translocation programme.