BHUBANESWAR: To revive the large cat population in Satkosia, tiger supplementation in the habitat is proposed to be carried out between January and March next year, the State Government told the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) at New Delhi on Tuesday.
At a meeting convened by Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray, the national agency was apprised of the plans drawn up by the State Government which is planning to re-introduce tigers in Satkosia which is low-density tiger reserve. It just has two large cats.
Well-placed sources said the Forest Department is planning the first release of tigers in the ratio of 1:2 (male:female) in the first quarter of next year. A second release will be conducted later in the year with a pair of male and female.
The Forest Department informed the NTCA that it has planned to bring in the tigers for the first phase release from Maharashtra (Tadoba Tiger Reserve) while the second lot is likely to be brought from Madhya Pradesh. The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has been assigned the preparation of the detailed project report, which will be presented to the State Government next month before it is sent to NTCA for final approval.
The WII will take up monitoring and surveillance of the tiger supplementation project for one year and build capacity of the Satkosia TR field staff which will take over the work for the subsequent period.
After the modalities are finalised, the details of transportation and protocol of release will be devised. “It will be discussed of a soft release will be preferred over a hard release of the tigers,” sources said. The project cost will be shared by the Centre and State Government.
However, before the supplementation, the boundary re-working of Satkosia as well as the relocation of the villagers from the sanctuary areas will have to be completed.The meeting also approved the genetic study of the melanistic tigers of Odisha. Uma Ramakrishnan, scientist of National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) who will lead the study, presented the proposal before the NTCA.Member-secretary of NTCA Debabrata Swain, Field Director of Similipal Tiger Reserve HK Bisht and Field Director of Sarkosia Sudarshan Panda were also present at the meeting.