Bhubaneswar: The process to shift tigress Sundari from Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary in Odisha’s Angul district to Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh has been postponed.
Announcing this at a press briefing here on Wednesday, Chief Wildlife Warden Hari Shankar Upadhyay said that Sundari was to be shifted to the tiger reserve in Ghorela inside Kanha National Park.
“Since there are two tigers in the tiger reserve, releasing Sundari is fraught with danger as they may kill her. Taking this into consideration, it has been decided that Sundari will be released into the new habitat in Ghorela only after shifting of these two tigers,” he added.
It may be mentioned here that National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had asked the Odisha government to immediately shift Sundari to Kanha National Park.
Criticising the government for violating the standard operating procedure (SOP) by keeping the tigress inside the enclosure, NTCA in a letter to the Odisha chief secretary on December 17, 2019, had maintained that “Tigress T-2 cannot be allowed to be kept in a small enclosure for any longer time. Therefore, in interest of Tiger Conservation, Tigress T-2 shall be withdrawn and brought to Ghorela centre at Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, with immediate effect for re-wilding and subsequent release to suitable habitat.” Besides, it had also made it clear that there will be no inter-state tiger translocation in Odisha, henceforth.
Sundari was brought from the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh in June 2018 as part of the inter-state tiger translocation project and released into Satkosia Tiger Reserve in August the same year.
The Forest department, however, was forced to put the big cat in a special rehabilitation enclosure at Raiguda in the core area of the sanctuary after the death of two persons and a bullock at Baghamunda and Tainsi villages inside the reserve area purportedly by the tigress. This had led to protests from villagers living inside and on the periphery of the sanctuary.