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Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar: Tigress 'Sundari', which was translocated from Madhya Pradesh to Odisha in 2018 with much fanfare under country's first inter-state tiger translocation project, seems to be a nonessential business for both the States.

Neither the government of Madhya Pradesh is taking measures to bring back the animal to its place of origin even after the clear instruction from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) nor has the Odisha Forest department expedited the process for its relocation.

Sources said, the NTCA had written to the MP Forest Department in December last year, asking it to bring back the tigress to its original habitat.

Odisha Forest Department has claimed to have written to its MP counterpart to take back the big cat which has been currently lodged in an enclosure after it allegedly killed two humans in Satkosia forest of Angul. But, the MP government has done precious little in this regard, sources said.

"Releasing it into the Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary again is very difficult. So, we are negotiating with the MP Forest Department to send it back," said Pradeep Rajkarat, Regional Chief Conservator of Forest (RCCF), Angul.

On the other hand, tiger experts opined that Sundari’s future has plunged into darkness as the translocation was undertaken without a proper ground preparation. If the attitude and behaviour of the tigress is observed now, its future is well visualised that it leads towards the zoo only, opined Khageswar Nayak, national level tiger expert.

"It's good if the Government of India wants to make it re-wild. But, its future is bleak. It would be better to lodge the animal in zoo now," he said.

Meanwhile, Red Lynx Confederation, an NGO fighting for wildlife conservation and animals’ rights has filed a writ petition in Madhya Pradesh High Court regarding the current status of the project and condition of the tigress. The Court has directed the Odisha Forest department to produce a report on the condition of Sundari. Accordingly, the Divisional Forest Officer, Angul is scheduled to appear before the MP High Court next week.

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