Old, self-healed tigress is Satkosia’s last hope 

The 14-year-old tigress stands in way of the habitat turning tiger-less
Old, self-healed tigress is Satkosia’s last hope 

ANGUL: With Sundari’s captive days almost numbered in Satkosia Tiger Reserve after the Madhya Pradesh High Court ruling, the tiger habitat is back to square one, pinning hope on its lone residential big cat. Well past its youth, the 14-year-old tigress stands in way of the habitat turning tiger-less.After it developed infection earlier this year, the Satkosia TR authorities were worried but six months later, it is believed to have been cured.

Regional Chief Conservator of Forest (RCCF) of Angul Circle  Pradeep Raj Karat, who along with his team, is monitoring her since May last, says that the tigress has no danger to its life. It healed without any treatment by the forest staff. It had developed fungal infection at the origin of the tail but self-healed.“We are assured that the fungal infection found in the tail has healed fully. There is no danger to her life due to infection. The 14 year old tigress is safe and hearty in Satkosia forest,” said Karat.

In May, forest officials had detected a large fungal infection which could have turned fatal. Plans were laid by the field staff to monitor and capture her for treatment but it failed. The tigress eluded traps or cage. Tranquilisation was not an option given her old age.

In 2006, Satkosia TR had 14 tigers but she is the only one left now. There is also no chance of breeding in absence of a male. When Mahavir was translocated from Kanha Tiger Reserve as part of the re-introduction plan, Forest Department was hopeful of breeding since she was spotted with him at same places most of the time. But the mating did not happen and Mahavir fell to the snares. With the re-introduction project suspended, she is the only hope left.

The tigress was seen frequenting the Raigoda enclosure where Sundari is held captive. Forest officials had also laid a cage near the enclosure once and she walked on but escaped by scaling the wall. She has avoided the cage area ever since. Through CCTV cameras, forest staff noticed her watch Sundari from a distance.  

“We were worried when she could not be caught. The infection was in such a place that she even could lick that wound. But now, the wound has healed totally,” said the RCCF.

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The New Indian Express