BHUBANESWAR: Forest officials in Satkosia Tiger Reserve have launched a search operation to trace the lone tigress that has remained out of sight for more than six months. PCCF (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) Shashi Paul on Monday said search operation has been launched in the Satkosia forest and nearby jungles to trace the big cat. Satkosia DFO Saroj Kumar Panda said the pre-monsoon survey of animals has been continuing in the Tiger Reserve since June 15. While surveillance cameras have been installed, around 400 camera traps will be installed for a month from June 25 to July 25. “We will wait to see if the tigress is photo-captured in this period,” he said. The forest department has come under criticism for not being able to trace the tigress or confirming whether it is alive or dead.
A senior forest official said the big cat, which is over 15 years old, has already reached the age considered to be the average lifespan of a tiger in the wild. However, it was completely fit when camera trapped last time for which they are hopeful that the tigress would be alive, he said. The officer said earlier the field staff of the reserve had gathered evidence of hunting by the tigress in January. Its pug marks had also been sighted four months back. “It would be extremely difficult to assume the big cat has perished without relevant clue or evidence,” he said.
Honorary Wildlife Warden of Angul Aditya Chandra Panda said the tigress was well past her natural lifespan. She must have been at least 17 years old. It can be expected that she would die a natural death at any moment. “The focus in Satkosia should now be to take up voluntary relocation of villages at the largest scale possible to reclaim habitat, continue to strengthen protection and ensure that the habitat and prey base are prepared to a level that tigers can safely be reintroduced again.”
TRAPPED LEOPARD RESCUED
Bhubaneswar/Angul: A leopard trapped in a snare laid by poachers near Satkosia Tiger Reserve was rescued by the forest department officials and released to the wild on Monday. As per reports, locals of Gopalpur village in Purunakote range of Satkosia Wildlife Division spotted the leopard struggling to escape from the snare trap laid by the poachers.
On being informed Angul RCCF M Yogajayanand directed officials of Satkosia to carry out the rescue operation. Soon a team led by Satkosia DFO Saroj Kumar Panda reached the spot and tranquilised the large cat and freed it from the snare. The DFO said there was no major injury on the body of the leopard. “The snare however caused surface injuries to the front right limb of the big cat. It was treated by the veterinary doctors that accompanied the rescue team,” he said and added that after a few hours of observation, the leopard was released in the core area of the tiger reserve.