Government’s wild care: Rs 26 crore for big cats in Satkosia

The Wildlife Wing of Odisha Government has submitted a `26 crore plan to National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) towards its tiger replacement programme for Satkosia Tiger Reserve.

Published: 24th November 2017 02:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th November 2017 12:20 PM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: The Wildlife Wing of Odisha Government has submitted a `26 crore plan to National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) towards its tiger replacement programme for Satkosia Tiger Reserve.The Forest Department seeks to procure three pairs of tigers from Madhya Pradesh over a period of five years for their repopulation in Satkosia where the large cat population has dwindled and the habitat is apparently left with just one.

As per the replacement plan, the first pair is expected to be introduced in Satkosia next year for which the Forest Department has already undertaken a massive exercise. Tiger repopulation through re-introduction is going to be one of the most high-profile projects taken up by the Wildlife Wing in its recent history.
According to sources in the Wildlife Wing, the NTCA had already given its in-principle approval to the concept prepared by the Forest Department following which the budgetary details were prepared. The Centre is proposed to bear 60 per cent of the expenditure while the State will contribute the rest.
The plan includes selection, translocation, soft release, re-introduction and monitoring of the big cats through radio collaring. Infrastructure requirements such as communication and surveillance set-up and staff are part of the scheme submitted to the NTCA.

The Forest Department would seek help of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in identification of tigers from Madhya Pradesh. A major part of the exercise would be preparing the soft-release of the big cats. A suitable location for this purpose would be identified before necessary infrastructure can be put in place.
The WII will play a major role in the entire exercise as significant technical support would come from the Dehradun-based agency.

So far, the MP tiger reserves from where the large cats would be procured have not been finalised though correspondence between the Forest Departments of the two States has already taken place.
Currently, the Forest Department is busy preparing notification of Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary’s boundary rationalisation. As many as 118 villages would be taken off the sanctuary limits and more forest blocks would be added, making the tiger reserve bigger by 172 sq km.At 745 sq km, Satkosia was the smallest tiger area in central India tiger landscape.

Ambitious project

● Odisha Forest Department seeks to procure three pairs of tigers from Madhya Pradesh for their repopulation in Satkosia which has only one big cat now
● The plan includes selection, translocation, soft release, re-introduction and monitoring of the tigers through radio collaring
● The Centre to bear 60 pc of the cost while the State will contribute the rest

118 villages to be taken off the sanctuary limits

745 sqkm area of Satkosia which is smallest in central India tiger landscape

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