Odisha cannot decide on sending back tigress Sundari, says forest minister

Tigress Sundari had mauled a woman earlier this week in Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Angul district, triggering outrage among locals.

india Updated: Sep 14, 2018 20:19 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Sundari was brought from Madhya Pradesh’s Bandhavgarh reserve. (HT Photo)

The Odisha government cannot decide on the relocation of tigress Sundari, accused of mauling a woman earlier this week in Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Angul district, to Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh without the approval of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

The woman’s death had triggered outrage among locals, with villagers burning down a range office, a beat house and several boats of the forest department.

The tigress had been relocated in June under the country’s first inter-state translocation drive to boost Satkosia’s sagging feline population.

Odisha forest and environment minister Bijoyshree Routray clarified that the state was not authorised to take a decision on Sundari’s relocation.

“We have requested the Wildlife Institute of India to find out about the safety of the tigress and what steps are needed to be taken. If it is not relocated, we will make necessary arrangements so that the safety of the animal and the villagers is ensured,” Routray said, adding that no decision has been taken so far to relocate the feline.

Field director of Satkosia Tiger Reserve Sudarshan Panda also said that there was no likelihood of the tigress Sundari being relocated back to Bandhavgarh.

“Unless we get post mortem report and WII gives its report, nothing can be done at this stage,” he said.

On Thursday, Angul district collector Anil Samal had said that the forest department officials and the district administration had decided to send the tigress back to Bandhavgarh within the next fortnight as the villagers were not allowing the post-mortem of the woman.

First Published: Sep 14, 2018 20:19 IST