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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Tigress Sundari allegedly kills man in Odisha, then attacks journalist who went to cover it

Locals alleged that tigress Sundari mauled a 65-year-old on the reserve outskirts when he was on his way to fish at a local pond. Hours later, she allegedly attacked local a TV journalist who had gone to cover the scene of the attack.

india Updated: Oct 22, 2018 07:13 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Sundari was relocated to the reserve under the country’s first interstate translocation drive to boost the tiger population.
Sundari was relocated to the reserve under the country’s first interstate translocation drive to boost the tiger population.(HT Photo)
         

A tigress relocated to Odisha’s Satkosia Tiger Reserve in June has been blamed by residents for two more attacks that have left a woman dead and a journalist wounded in the state’s Angul district. The alleged attacks on Sunday have prompted fresh demands that Sundari, the tigress, be sent back to Madhya Pradesh.

Sundari was relocated to the reserve under the country’s first interstate translocation drive to boost the tiger population. Residents earlier blamed the tigress on September 12 for mauling a woman, Kailashi Soy, to death. They set an office and boats of the forest department on fire in protest and demanded that the tigress be sent back. Soy’s postmortem report ruled out the mauling as the cause of death, said a forest department official familiar with the matter.

On Saturday, locals alleged that the tigress mauled 65-year-old Trinath Sahu on the reserve outskirts when he was on his way for fishing at a local pond. Hours later, Sundari allegedly attacked local TV journalist Raghunath Sahu when he went to the scene to cover the first attack. Satkosia divisional forest officer V Karthick said the reporter was admitted to the Angul district hospital and was said to be critical.

Officials said angry residents thrashed a forest official and detained a team of wildlife officials that had gone to the spot. Police said Angul sub-collector, tehsildar and inspector were injured in stone-throwing protests over the man’s death. Karthick said they were on their way to the scene on Sunday to try bring the situation under control. Residents warned they would not allow the forest department to keep the tigress any longer in the reserve.

“It has become very difficult for us to move outside due to Sundari. We are living in constant fear and cannot even go to our farmlands,” said Mans Gadtia, a resident.

In September, the Odisha government called experts to catch the tigress and move her to the core of the reserve from the buffer. But the residents said she returned a week later and killed a bull on October 11.

Biswajit Mohanty, Odisha-based wildlife expert, said the problem was with the prey base in Satkosia. “The tigress had attacked a member of a monitoring team. The truth is there is little prey base in the core area...It should be sent back to Madhya Pradesh for the safety of people living near the reserve,” he said.

First Published: Oct 21, 2018 23:21 IST

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