Wild tiger knocks on Nandankanan door
By Siba Mohanty | Published: 01st May 2013 01:19 PM |
The wild tiger that has been roaming the forests of Chandaka crossed the line of freedom and walked into captivity at Nandankanan Zoological Park on Monday mid-night, leaving the State wildlife officials in a tizzy.
As the fully adult male feline lazed away in the White Tiger Safari of the zoo in the sweltering summer, heat was on the Forest and Wildlife department to decide what to do with the large cat. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) protocol on straying tigers, though, is clear that the animal should be released back into the wild and mandates the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW) with the responsibility.
Chief Wildlife Warden Janardan Dibakar Sharma said the Government is planning to release it back into the wild. “Why imprison a wild animal when it is healthy? We are trying to assess which habitat it belongs to so that it can be released back to the forest of its origin,” he told this paper.
Information is being sought from Angul Forest Division since the tiger is believed to have come from Satkosia.
It was in the middle of the night that the tiger walked into the zoo safari through the emergency gates which were kept open by the officials who have been monitoring its movement since a month. For over a week, Nandankanan Zoo management had noticed the large cat wandering into the sanctuary area and even installed camera traps to capture the images on Monday night.
“The CCTV footage clearly shows the tiger walking through the gate and entering the safari where it has settled as of now.
We have intimated the matter to the Central Zoo Authority, NTCA and Additional Director General (Wildlife). Basing on the existing Acts and guidelines, the NTCA and State Government will take a decision,” Zoo Director Sudarshan Panda said.
The tiger, about seven years of age, was apparently the one which was found in Chandaka in December last and subsequently near the zoo in January.
It was sighted by zoo officials on March 24 and subsequently pug-marks were found near the zoo.
On April 22, it was found to have strayed inside the territory of the zoo, which also happens to be a notified wildlife sanctuary.
Two members of the zoo found it resting near a swamp in a 12-acre forested patch of the zoo. Subsequently, it started to move around.
“We found that the tiger was moving close to the enclosure of a tigress Sara and we believe it may have been attracted by the female.
Since the enclosure is located close to the safari, we decided to keep a watch on it and opened the emergency gate,” Deputy Director Chitta Ranjan Mishra said.
On Sunday night, the tiger had walked into the safari and walked out. The zoo management decided to intensify surveillance and installed two cameras at the gate on Monday night and captured its entry.