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No decision to shift tigress Sundari to MP: Odisha govt

Bhubaneswar: Amid outrage over the death of a woman allegedly in an attack by the newly-released tigress Sundari in Satkosia Tiger Reserve, the Odisha Forest and Environment minister, Bijayshree Routray today said that no decision has been taken on shifting the big cat back to Bandhavgarh forest in Madhya Pradesh.

Routray’s comments came after Angul district administration had informed about the transfer of the relocated tigress from Satkosia.

“The entire exercise of relocation of tigress is managed by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). So we have asked it to inspect whether the relocated tigress’ safety is in question and it needs shifting. If they suggest that the relocation of the big cat back to its home is necessary then we will take steps accordingly. Else, we will make arrangements in Satkosia with due consideration to people’s demands for security. But so far no decision to transfer the tiger has been taken,” Minister Routray said.

The minister further added that people should have genuine reasons for protesting the tigress’ presence in Satkosia, but violence that some locals resorted to was unwarranted.

Routray said that the truth behind the death of the woman in Tikarpada Range could be ascertained only after the post-mortem of the woman’s body.

Meanwhile, former PCCF-Wildlife, BK Patnaik expressed concerns over the possibility of transfer of the animal back to Madhya Pradesh.

“If the newly-relocated tigress is shifted back to Bandhavgarh, then it would be a huge setback to the state government’s tiger relocation project. The move may decrease the likelihood of getting two more tigers from Madhya Pradesh to Satkosia,” Patnaik said.

Earlier on Thursday, Angul district administration informed that an expert team from Bandhavgarh will reach Satkosia on September 15. Thereafter, they will tranquilise and make arrangements for shifting the tigress.

Alleging that the tigress killed a woman of Hatibari village, irate locals of three gram panchayats under Tikarpada Forest Range in Angul ransacked and torched the Hatibari Forest Beat House and the Tikarpada Range Office.

It is pertinent to note that the tigress was relocated from Bandhavgarh sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh and released in Satakosia Wildlife Sanctuary on August 18.

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