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Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: There seems to be no end to the uncertainty over the fate of tigress Sundari who has been spending a lonely life in an enclosure for the last two years.

Since November 2018, the tigress brought to Odisha from Bandhavgarh National Park of Madhya Pradesh, is lodged at an enclosure at Raiguda under Satkosia Reserve Forest. However, the forest authorities of both the states are least bothered about the plight of the tigress.

According to sources, the Madhya Pradesh forest department are reportedly not taking back the tigress despite repeated requests from the Odisha forest authorities putting the destiny of the big cat in ambiguity.

Amid the uncertainty, the State Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Hari Shankar Upadhyay has said that the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) will soon be asked to intervene to resolve the issue.

“If Madhya Pradesh refuses to take back tigress Sundari, decision will be taken to shift her to Similipal or Nandankanan after holding discussion with the NTCA and Wildlife Institute of India,” Upadhyay said.

“We are unable to take decision as the Madhya Pradesh forest department is maintaining silence. If they refuse to accept the tigress, we will look for other alternative. It's already too late. We will hold discussion with NTCA to take decision in this regard at the earliest,” Upadhyay added.

It is reminded here that one pair of tigers were brought to Odisha from Badhavgarh and Kanha Tiger Reserve in order to boost the ecology of Satkosia. However, the tiger from Kanha died after reportedly being entangled in the trap laid by poacher.

On the other hand, Sundari, who was brought on June 28, 2018 to Odisha allegedly attacked and killed two persons after it was released into the wild on July 6 the same year. Later the tigress was put in the enclosure on November 6, 2018.

Meanwhile, the common man to wildlife experts have blamed the State forest department over the failure of the tiger exchange project.

“We learnt that Sundari will be shifted to Nandankanan, but that will not serve any purpose. It will be better to shift the tigress back from where it was brought to Odisha,” Jaychandra Pradhan, a resident of Satkosia said.

“The forest department committed mistakes since the beginning of the tiger exchange project. Had the forest department done everything systematically, the tiger exchange programme would have been a great success,” Biraj Jani, secretary of Satkosia Khyatigrastha Praja Sangha said.

(Edited By: Suryakant Jena)

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