Odisha sends back tigress from Satkosia reserve to Madhya Pradesh
Sundari was brought to Satkosia tiger reserve of Angul district in June 2018 from Bandhavgarh tiger reserve of Madhya Pradesh under country’s first interstate relocation exercise for tigers.
The much-vaunted inter-state tiger translocation drive ended in a whimper after Sundari, the four-and-half year-old tigress relocated from Madhya Pradesh in 2018 to Satkoisa tiger reserve in Odisha’s Angul district was sent back to the Kanha reserve in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday evening.
Angul Regional Chief Conservator of Forest Pradeep Raj Karat said the 160-kg tigress was tranquilised after several attempts to put it in a cage ended in failure. “After a tranquilising shot was given to the tigress, she took 15 minutes to lose consciousness. The forest personnel then brought her into a cage,” said Karat. The RCCF said.
The tigress was then loaded in a special vehicle brought in by a team from Kanha National Park. The tigress would reach Ghorela rewilding centre of Kanha National park on Wednesday afternoon.
In June 2018, Sundari was brought to Satkosia tiger reserve of Angul district from Bandhavgarh tiger reserve of Madhya Pradesh under country’s first interstate relocation exercise for tigers. Mahabir, another tiger from Madhya Pradesh which was brought in the same month as part of state government’s plan to repopulate Satkosia tiger reserve, died a few months later after being caught in metal snares laid by poachers. Sundari too was shifted to a special enclosure in Satkosia tiger reserve after it killed a 45-year-old woman and a 65-year-old man living inside the reserve in September 2018, triggering violence by locals who burnt the forest department’s boats and beat house.
The ₹19-crore ambitious tiger relocation exercise conceived by the Union ministry of environment and forests, National Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institute of India was started in June 2018 under the project of “augmentation and recovery of tiger population in Satkosia tiger reserve”. Six tigers (three pairs) from different reserves of Madhya Pradesh were to be sent to Odisha under the project. The NTCA spent ₹8 crore for translocation of Sundari and Mahabir.
However, after the death of Mahabir and captivity of Sundari, the National Tiger Conservation Authority in December 2019 had asked Odisha government to send back Sundari from Satkosia accusing the Odisha forest and wildlife department of making a mess out of the monitoring and management of the relocated tigress. NTCA said Sundari was not monitored and managed as per the standard operating procedure set by it.
Expressing dismay over the lack of preparation for the reintroduction of tigers in Satkosia reserve, the NTCA said the Odisha forest and wildlife department could not take steps for prey augmentation, creation of inviolate space, ecodevelopment, capacity building of staff and enhancement of protection in spite of availability of sufficient funds and technical support.