Bhubaneswar: Trouble has mounted for Forest and Environment Department of the Odisha government with the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) making its stand clear that Royal Bengal tigress Sundari cannot be kept inside an enclosure in Nandankanan Zoological Park.
In a letter to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF), Wildlife, Sandip Tripathy on Wednesday, CZA member secretary DN Singh has said that a wild animal brought from its natural habitat cannot be kept inside a zoo.
According to the rules, the purpose of keeping wild animals in the zoo was to raise their population. Since the state Forest Department had brought the Bengal tigress from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh under the inter-state relocation scheme, she has to be released into the sanctuary as keeping her inside the zoo would be a gross violation of the National Zoo Policy, 1998, the letter stated.
The letter also asked the PCCF to take a decision on this matter at the earliest.
The PCCF had earlier told the media that a high-level committee comprising experts from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and the State Forest and Environment Department will observe the behaviour of the tigress inside the enclosure at Raiguda for three days and then take a decision on its relocation.
Earlier, the Forest and Environment minister Bijayshree Routray had said that the Bengal Tigress would be kept in Nandankanan.
The forest staff of Satkosia and the expert team of the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve had tranquilised Sundari inside the Satkosia sanctuary on Wednesday. Later the tigress was released into the enclosure where she was kept earlier.
Sundari was brought from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh and released into the enclosure at Raiguda in the core area of Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary on June 18. She was later released into the wild on August 18.
Following the death of a woman of Hatibari village and a man of Tainsi village, who were suspected to have been killed by the tigress, the Forest department had decided to shift her to Nandankanan Zoological Park in Bhubaneswar.