Sunabeda-Khariar Tiger Reserve Should Be Notified Before All Is Lost, Says Wildlife Expert

Bhubaneswar: The continuous dip in tiger fortunes in the wilds of Odisha has become a matter of concern for envrionmentalists. They have been questioning the long delay and lapse of many years in issuance of the final notification for the Sunabeda-Khariar Tiger Reserve, especially in view of the dip in tiger population in the state.

Reiterating their demand, Secretary of Wild Orissa, (an organisation working for wildlife and nature in Odisha since 1997), Monalisa Bhujabal, has written a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik  saying that now a real fear of possibly losing ground irretrievably is gaining credence. “A strong demand and campaign since the latter part of 1990s, especially ‘Wild Orissa’s intensive field surveys since 1997 launched under the Sunabeda Tiger Conservation Programme, for inclusion of the high potential forests of Sunabeda & Khariar under the Project Tiger Scheme, saw a genuine hope for tigers in these once pristine forests,” she wrote.

Drawing the CM’s attention towards poaching, she wrote that Sunabeda forests are losing tigers due to the problem (one male tiger was poached in the neighbouring forests of Bolangir recently, which supposedly had come from Sunabeda forests of Nuapada district).

She further wrote that illicit cultivation of ganja on the highlands and plateaus is a matter of concern. Left wing extremism in this region coupled with delays are putting a question mark not only on the destiny of the tiger but also of the beautiful forest landscape. If the single digit tigers, in miniscule numbers are to have any chances of survival in these once famed tiger forests, on which many authors have written in the past, then the situation has to be brought under control. 

On behalf of Wild Orissa she urged the Government of Odisha to prioritise the issuance of final notification for the Sunabeda-Khariar Tiger Reserve in view of the precarious position of the wild tigers in the state.

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