Pradeep Pattanayak

In a piece of good news for animal lovers, after a tiger, a rare species of gaur or Indian bison has been spotted in the Atei reserve forest under Ghatagaon range in Keonjhar district. 

After the sighting of a tiger in the reserve forest, as many as 45 camera traps were installed at strategic locations in the forest to monitor the movement of the big cat. 

On Friday, the footage captured in the cameras was inspected. It revealed that the forest has a gaur. As per the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the gaur is a Schedule 1 animal. 

Besides the endangered animal, a wolf, a civet cat, a fox, a wild cat and other animals were also captured in the cameras. 

Since the sighting of the tiger, the forest department has installed gates at four locations and erected fences at different locations besides imposing restrictions in the forest. 

Informing about the presence of the animals in the Atei reserve forest, Keonjhar DFO, Dhanraj HD said, “After going through the footage captured in the CCTV cameras, we have found the presence of 21 species in the Atei reserve forest. Of them, 14 are Schedule 1 animals and the rest seven are Schedule 2 and 3 animals. What is uncommon for Keonjhar’s Atei forest is the presence of a gaur. This species is also found in Similipal and Satkosia sanctuaries."

"The forest also has a Chausingha (four-horned antelope) and an Indian grey wolf. These three animals are Schedule 1 animals. Most importantly, all the species in the food-chain pyramid are in this forest.  The presence of these animals suggests that the habitat quality in the forest is good,” he added.