Fate Of Satkosia Tigress Sundari Hangs In Balance

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Bhubaneswar: The state Forest department and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) are tight-lipped over the fate of Royal Bengal tigress Sundari, who has been languishing in an enclosure at Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary in Odisha’s Angul district for almost a month now.

It may be recalled that following the death of a woman of Hatibari village on September 12 and later a man of Tainsi village on October 27, who were suspected to have been killed by the tigress after her release into the wild on August 18, the Forest and Environment minister Bijasyshree Routray had said the tigress would be kept inside an enclosure at Nandankanan Zoological Park.

The tigress had spread panic in the area, pouncing on livestock and attacking people. After the relentless effort, she was finally captured on November 6. However, neither the Forest department nor the NTCA has issued no statement on her fate. It is not yet clear whether she would be released into wild of Satkosia again or taken back to the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh from where she was brought on June 29.

Sources said that the NTCA has decided to release Sundari into the wild of Satkosia again to make the inter-state tiger translocation project successful. It has also been decided to install more than 200 CCTV cameras in the core area of the sanctuary to monitor her movement.

Wildlife experts are not unanimous with the decision and question the steps being taken to ensure her safety. The death of Bengal tiger Mahavir, whose carcass was found in the sanctuary on November 15 in core area of the sanctuary, has made them sceptical.

This apart, they are of the opinion that the prolonged stay of the Bengal tigress inside the enclosure will make her more aggressive and it can spell trouble once she is released into the wild.

“Since Sundari was not brought to Satkosia to be kept inside an enclosure, efforts should be made to release her into the wild,” said wildlife expert and environmentalist Biswajit Mohanty.

He further maintained that the installation of CCTV cameras in the sanctuary will not ensure the safety of the tigers with poachers having put up traps at several locations.

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