Around 100 villages situated in core of the Satkosia tiger reserve could not be relocated so far posing threat to wild animals in the zone.
Bhopal: India’s first interstate tiger translocation experiment in which a big cat couple was transported on road from Madhya Pradesh during the summer of 2018 for reintroduction of the wild animal in Odisha’s Satkosia Reserve has failed, thanks to mess made by the Odisha forest department.
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has directed Odisha to restore Sundari, the female tiger brought from Kanha National Park of MP, to its native forest after her partner, MB-2, the male tiger of Badhavgarh in MP, was poisoned to death in Satkosia, raising questions on the conservation measures by the Odisha forest department.
The development has threatened to trigger a row between Madhya Pradesh and Odisha with the former declaring to thwart any move to relocate Sundari in MP forest if the tigress was found not fit to be released in wild.
“We will send a team of forest officers and veterinary doctors to Odisha to examine if Sundari is fit to be released in the wild. Then only, we will take a decision to facilitate her return to MP,” principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) wildlife of MP, J.S. Chouhan, told this newspaper on Friday.
Asked to assign the reasons behind the failure of the “ambitious” experiment, carried out at an estimated cost of `60 crore, Mr Chouhan quipped, “You better ask the officials of Odisha forest department”.
“Our responsibility ends after transporting the tiger couple to Odisha. Their conservation was the responsibility of the Odisha forest department,” he added.
Eminent conservationist of MP Ajey Dubey has slammed Odisha forest department for its failure to save the male tiger of MP, which was poisoned to death in Satkosia leading the experiment to fail.
“Satkosia tiger reserve is known as highly vulnerable to poaching causing disappearance of native big cats in the reserve forest. The reintroduction project for Satkosia should be have undertaken after the tiger reserve was made poaching free zone.
Around 100 villages situated in core of the Satkosia tiger reserve could not be relocated so far posing threat to wild animals in the zone. In this circumstance, the tiger couple should not have been trans-located to Satkosia”, he said. He demanded a probe into the whole mess in the experiment.