Odisha reserve gets tiger from Madhya Pradesh in India’s first inter-state relocation
Tigers have been relocated in India to repopulate dying reserves — Sariska (Rajasthan) in 2008 and Panna (Madhya Pradesh) in 2010 — but they were all within the state’s borders.Updated: Jun 21, 2018 23:05 IST
In the first instance of inter-state relocation of tigers, a big cat from the Kanha Reserve in Madhya Pradesh made its way to the Satkosia Reserve in Odisha’s Angul district on Thursday to help shore up the dwindling population there.
Odisha forest officials said the vehicle fitted with fan and water sprinklers to cool the tranquilised male Royal Bengal tiger reached the Satkosia tiger reserve on Thursday evening. “We will get five more tigers to the reserve if this tiger feels comfortable. In Satkosia the habitat and prey is adequate for tigers to survive,” said Angul chief conservator of forests Sudarshan Panda.
A joint team of forest officials from Madhya Pradesh and Odisha along with staff from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) accompanied the tiger.
At present, the 963 sq km Satkosia Tiger Reserve has two female Royal Bengal tigers, both over 13 years old. As per the 2016 tiger census, there were 40 Royal Bengal Tigers – 13 males, 24 females and three calves – in Odisha. The Simlipal tiger reserve in Mayurbhanj district had the highest population 26 tigers.
To prepare the ground for the tiger relocation, wildlife and forest officials in last December had shifted 78 families of Raigoda village in the tiger reserve’s core area to another location, about 7 km away.
Tigers have been relocated in India to repopulate dying reserves — Sariska (Rajasthan) in 2008 and Panna (Madhya Pradesh) in 2010 — but they were all within the state’s borders. The Satkosia relocation is the first inter-state experiment. In Rajaji tiger reserve of Uttarakhand, five tigers are expected to be relocated from the Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve.
However, wildlife conservationists warn about the futility of tiger relocation experiments saying the population was simply unviable.
“We should keep in mind that the entire tiger population of Odisha is doomed. The state has less than 100 tigers, which is a non-viable population. Addition of 4 or 5 tigers is useless and cannot ensure a future. Simlipal is doomed and so also Satkosia. Why waste public money,” asked Dr Biswajit Mohanty, former member of the National Board for Wildlife.
Mohanty also asked why the male wild tiger that had strayed from the Satkosia tiger reserve into the Nandankanan zoo in Bhubaneswar in 2013 was not being re-released into the wild. He alleged that despite orders by the NTCA to release it, the state government had ignored the issue.
First Published: Jun 21, 2018 22:31 IST