Sundargarh: There is good news for wildlife lovers in Odisha. For the first time, a tiger has been spotted in Juniyani forest under Lefripada forest range in Sundargarh district.
Talking to OTV, Dr Arun Kumar Mishra, DFO, Sundargarh, said the presence of a tiger in Juniyani forest could not be traced earlier as there was no camera traps deployed here during the tiger census in the district last year. "But judging from the pug marks, it is now certain that there is one tiger in this forest area," he said.
"From the camera traps installed in different pockets of the Juniyani and Taragada forest range during the tiger census this year, we have found that there are 12 leopards in these forest ranges," he said.
“Presence of tiger makes it amply clear that there are enough deer, sambhar, wild boars, antelopes including elephants, bears, peacocks and monkeys in these forest ranges. The Forest department has taken necessary measures to intensify inter-state patrolling in Juniyani and Taragada forest ranges bordering Chhattisgarh. The department has decided to set up two protection camps in Dangakhol forest under Hemagiri forest range and Juniyani forest under Lefripada forest range in October this year. Efforts are on to make provision for solar lights, VHF and watch tower for these two camps. Besides, work on creation of new water bodies and development of meadows would be taken up near the camp area,” Mishra said.
He said the Forest department would professionally engage the local youths in the protection of flora and fauna of the forest. They would be provided with uniforms.
The DFO further said in view of the ongoing coal exploration and expansion of roads underway in the forest areas, the Forest department has taken up massive compensatory afforestation this year for which user agencies like Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC), National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) have provided adequate financial assistance.
“Besides, these companies have also given financial assistance for Special Wildlife Management Plan for specific sites inside the forest,” he added.
Dr BK Dhal, wildlife expert, said people should treat and take care of tigers the way they do their domestic pets. They should consider it as a property of their forest and accordingly take care of the forest.
"Tiger cannot live without a dense forest cover. It is the duty of the Forest department to ensure that there are sufficient number of deer, sambhar, wild boar and antelope inside the forest which are the staple food of the tiger. On an average, a tiger kills nearly 50 deer in a year for its food. Tigers never stay in a forest if it has less number prey. Besides, the Forest department will have to ensure that there is enough source of water inside the forest. If there is no water sources in the forest, efforts should be made to create artificial lakes. Since tigers love water, presence of water sources in the forest will ensure their long stay,” he opined.