The wild Royal Bengal tiger, which strayed into Nandankanan Zoological Park, is not welcome back at Satkosia Tiger Reserve, its original habitat. Yes, you read it right.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) may have recommended release of the wild tiger back in Satkosia but the tiger reserve authorities have developed cold feet about the decision of its relocation.
The Field Director of Satkosia has shot off a letter to Chief Wildlife Warden expressing apprehension about its move over “absence of required manpower and other infrastructure.”
The Field Director (FD), also Regional Chief Conservator of Forests, Angul, has stated that the male tiger’s movement back to Nandankanan can not be ruled out due to non-availability of female tigers in Satkosia.
“Since the inception of the tiger reserve in 2007, the condition of vegetation and habitat has improved to a great extent due to stringent protection measures but the abysmal low density of tiger continues - from the very beginning - in absence of contiguous corridor and surrounding industrialisation,” the letter by Field Diector Pandav Behera stated.
Behera’s letter mentioned that the Divisional Forest Officers of Satkosia as well as Mahanadi too have expressed that the tiger should not be relocated “in absence of required manpower and other such infrastructure” and he has no reasons to differ. While suggesting that relocation is not a great idea, the letter also admitted that Satkosia does not paint an encouraging picture so far as tiger population is concerned.
“It is not out of place to mention that Satkosia Tiger Reserve is a low-density reserve since the beginning. From the reports of Mahanadi Wildlife Division and Satskosia Wildlife Division, not enough pug marks have yet been detected. The scat collection by the DFOs is almost nil,” the letter said.
Similarly, the recent super cyclone Phailin left at least 34,896 trees uprooted or damaged in the tiger habitat which has been a cause of concern for the management and all the factors have added up. In fact, DIG of NTCA SP Yadav had visited Satkosia recently since the national body recommended the tiger’s release back in Satkosia after following a proper protocol.
The tiger, currently lodged in Nandankanan Zoo, has triggered a long debate over its future, with a large section seeking its freedom and another pitching in for its captivity.
■ NTCA) may have recommended release of the wild tiger back in Satkosia but the tiger reserve authorities have developed cold feet about the decision of its relocation
■ Angul’s Field Director said ale tiger’s movement back to Nandankanan can not be ruled out due to non-availability of female tigers in Satkosia