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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Angul: The return of Tigress Sundari to its native Madhya Pradesh will be delayed by at least two months due to an ongoing training programme of two more tigers at Ghorela Re-wilding centre in Kanha Tiger Reserve, informed Madhya Pradesh forest department on Sunday.

As per reports, Sundari or officially known as T-2, will be sent to Kanha National Park instead of the Bandhavgarh sanctuary from where it was initially sourced as part of the country's first tiger translocation project in 2018.

However, it will take another two months to actually shift Sundari to Ghorela re-wilding centre in Kanha because two other tigers are already present in the centre. Sundari could only be shifted to Ghorela after the two tigers are moved to the wild, making it safe for her to get back her animal instinct naturally.

Speaking to OTV, SK Singh, the Director of Kanha Tiger Sanctuary said, "It will take at least two months to vacate the re-wilding centre in Ghorela. We can take Sundari back after the centre is prepped for her."

The re-wilding centre in Ghorela is spread across seven hectares of land, providing ample opportunity for the big cats to adapt to the jungle life and get their animal instincts back.

Caution Necessary So That Satkosia-Like Episode Not Repeated In Kanha

Tiger expert, Dr Khageswar Nayak said, "She is a big tigress and her behaviour has witnessed drastic change. I think it will have to stay in the Ghorela re-wilding centre for at least a year before she can be released into the jungle. The officials have to monitor its behaviour so that a Satkosia-like episode is not repeated in Kanha."

"It was the decision of NTCA to try and develop her animal instinct back to normal. Some tigers are being trained at Ghorela right now. Once their training gets over, Sundari will be shifted there," said Harishankar Upadhyay, Odisha PCCF.

Sundari was translocated from Bhandhvgarh tiger reserve of Madhya Pradesh to Odisha in 2018 under country’s first inter-state tiger translocation programme. The big cat was released into the Satkosia sanctuary in Angul district. But, later it was lodged in an enclosure after the animal reportedly killed a man and a woman living inside the reserve in September, 2018. The incident had triggered massive violence when a group of locals set ablaze a forest beat office.

In December last year, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan had written to his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik, urging him to take special care of  tigress ‘Sundari’ which was translocated from Bandhavgarh National Park in MP to Odisha’s Satkosia Tiger Reserve under country’s  first interstate tiger translocation project.

Quoting media reports, he had expressed concern that the tigress is not being taken care of properly as per prescribed guidelines by the NTCA due to which the animal has lost its natural instinct and behaviour.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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