Odisha Forest Staff Remove Radio Collar From Tigress Sundari’s Neck

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Bhubaneswar: Forest staff have removed the radio collar from the neck of tigress Sundari, Satkosia DFO P Ramaswamy informed on Saturday.

The collar was removed after tranquilizing the tigress in her enclosure at Raiguda inside the core area of Satkosia sanctuary in Angul district, the DFO added.

Ramaswamy said Sundari has gained excess weight due to restricted movement. As a result, the radio collar around her neck was squeezing her. “There was a possibility that the squeezing of the radio collar could cause breathing problems. Hence, we tranquilized her yesterday (Friday) and removed the radio collar from her neck in the presence of veterinary doctors from Satkosia and Similipal wildlife divisions,” he added.

This was the third time that Sundari was tranquilized.

The tigress was tranquilized on June 29, 2018 when she was brought from the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh to the Satkosia sanctuary. After keeping her inside the enclosure at Raiguda, she was released in the wild on August 17.

However, she was again tranquilized and kept in the enclosure on November 6, 2018 after the tigress reportedly attacked and killed two persons and a bullock at Baghamunda and Tainsi villages inside the reserve area. The killings had led to protests from villagers living inside and on the periphery of the sanctuary.

On the contrary, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had taken exception to the violation of the standard operating procedure (SOP) by the state Forest Department for confining the tigress inside a small enclosure and hindering its movement.

On December 17, 2019, NTCA sent a written directive to the Odisha government to immediately send back the tigress from Satkosia sanctuary to Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh. It had also informed that there will be no inter-state tiger translocation in Odisha, henceforth.

“The Tigress T-2 cannot be allowed to be kept in a small enclosure for any longer time. Therefore, in interest of tiger conservation, the tigress T-2 shall be withdrawn and brought to Ghorela centre at Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, with immediate effect for re-wilding and subsequent release to suitable habitat,” the NTCA letter stated.

However, the process to shift tigress Sundari was later postponed after the Chief Wildlife Warden, Hari Shankar Upadhyay, gave a media statement on February 5 that there are two more tigers in the reserve and they may kill Sundari if she was released.

Following this, the authorities concerned decided that Sundari will be released into the new habitat in Ghorela only after shifting of these two tigers.

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