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Odishatv Bureau

Nuapada: With an aim to boost tiger conservation activities, the Odisha Forest department along with the Chhattisgarh government has proposed the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to notify Sunabeda sanctuary as a tiger reserve.

The proposed reserve which has a total area of 500 square km in Odisha and extending into Chhattisgarh boasts a rich diversity of flora and fauna, wild habitats with a vast plateau and canyons with 11 waterfalls.

Currently Odisha has two notified tiger reserves at Similipal and Satkosia and the State government aims at reinforcing tiger conservation by establishing one more reserve.

A discussion in this regard was held for the first time between forest officials of Nuapada and Bolangir divisions, Chhattisgarh and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) at the Nuapada Collectorate on Friday.

During the meeting, both the State governments stressed that the biodiversity and ambience of Sunabeda sanctuary is very suitable for creation of a tiger reserve project.

“Sunabeda sanctuary boasts a sizeable population of tigers and its biodiversity suits the big cat. A lot can be done for the conservation of the tigers and development of locals if it is awarded the status of a tiger reserve,” said Anup Kumar Naik, member secretary, NTCA.

Last month, the Central government had claimed in the Tiger Census report that there were only 28 tigers in Odisha as per 2018 data, exactly the same number the 2014 census had mentioned.

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