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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Concerned over the alarming decline in the number of tigers in Odisha, senior Congress leader and former Union Environment and Forests minister Jairam Ramesh has urged the state government to take urgent steps to save the population of the magnificent predators in the state.

In a letter to chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday, Ramesh said during his visit to the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, he was shocked to learn that the tigers are on their way to extinction in Simlipal and Satkosia forests in Odisha.

Reminding the chief minister of the steps he had taken during his stint as Union minister for Environment and Forests, Ramesh said under his initiative a special task force was constituted in June, 2009 to save the tigers of Odisha which are unique because of their special black stripes.

He said the state government officials were in denial mode at the time and had challenged the population estimates made by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

“Nothing seems to have changed—in fact the situation may have got worse with tiger population estimates down to a low single digit in the state. It would be a calamity if the tigers of Odisha were to become extinct. Unlike in Panna and Sariska, tigers cannot really be translocated to Simlipal and Satkosia and hence the importance of not only saving but augmenting what is there now,” Ramesh noted.

Requesting the chief minister not to see any politics in his communication, the former Union minister told him that he had earlier shared his interests and hoped he would also share his concern over this issue.

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