Vikash Sharma

In good news for wildlife lovers, an exclusive melanistic tiger safari will be launched in Odisha. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik made the announcement on Wednesday.

Taking to his official X (Formerly Twitter) handle, Patnaik informed that Odisha is setting up an exclusive melanistic tiger safari near Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) in Mayurbhanj.

“Tourists and visitors can now have a glimpse of the rare and majestic species found only in Odisha,” posted Patnaik.

The melanistic tiger safari will be the first of its kind in the World and will come up in 200 hectares of land. Around 100 hectares of land will be used as a display area and the balance area shall be utilized for the creation of veterinary care facilities including a rescue centre, staff infrastructure, and visitor amenities.

The site for the proposed melanistic tiger safari is about 15 km away from Similipal Tiger Reserve and it matches the same landscape, the government said in a release.

Similipal Tiger Reserve is the only home for melanistic tigers in the wild in the world. As per the last All India Tiger Estimation Report published by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in 2018, melanistic tigers have been found in the wild only in Similipal Tiger Reserve.

Senior officials informed that surplus tigers from Nandankanan Zoo and rescued/ orphaned tigers who are not fit for wild but fit for display shall be housed in the safari in an open enclosure.

“The proposal in this respect submitted by the Odisha Government to NTCA has been accorded “in-principle” approval by the Technical Committee of NTCA. A committee to be constituted by NTCA shall visit the site for feasibility study before the final nod by the Authority,” the statement added.