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Saswat Singhdeo

Angul: Residents of Satkosia are living in fear after the Royal Bengal tigress brought from Madhya Pradesh’s Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve was released into the Tiger Reserve.

While some residents of Katrang and Satyajaipur villages have stopped going to their farm lands, many are guarding their houses with sticks and axes.

Some of the villagers are claiming to have seen the tigress while one of the villagers is said to have suffered injuries while trying to run away from the wild cat.

“We are not going to our farm lands and have decided to stop farming completely as we are scared that we might be attacked by the tigers. We are not even taking our cattle for grazing,” Katrang resident NayanPradhan said.

Similarly, Satyajaipur resident Brajabandhu Behera said, “We are always keeping sticks and axes with us because at any point of time we could be attacked by the tigers.”

Earlier, residents of Satkosia and nearby areas had gheraoed the Angul Collector’s office over the matter. Now they are preparing to file a case before the Human Rights Commission and are also preparing  to go to the Supreme Court.

Secretary of Satkosia Praja Surakshya Samiti, Birja Jani said, “We will file a case in the court and meet the Governor, concerned authorities at the Centre and urge them to find a solution to our issue.”

On the other hand, Satkosia forest officials have said that a 18-member team is always keeping a close watch on the movement of the tigers.

“The tigress has not yet fixed her territory, so she is roaming around to survey. She has not attacked anyone till now and will not do so in the future as well,” said Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Sudarshan Panda.

Scientist from Wildlife Institute of India K Ramesh said that the tigress will explore the area for first two months. “This is natural behaviour of wild animals to roam in the nearby areas. They explore the area and take some time to fix their territory,” he said.

Earlier this month, Sundari, the Royal Bengal tigress brought from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve was released into the Satkosia Tiger Reserve.

On July 6, a tiger brought from Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh was released into the same Tiger Reserve.

As per reports, this was the first pair of tigers released into the forest under the tiger relocation project. Another two pairs of tigers will be released into the forest in subsequent phases under the ambitious project taken up by Odisha government to increase their population in the tiger reserve.

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