Eyes on big cats: Satkosia to welcome more tigers by next year

Bhubaneswar: With eyes on successful tiger relocation programmes in other states, the Odisha government is all set to release new Royal Bengal tigers in Satkosia reserve forest by January or February next year in a bid to raise the population of the big cats in the state.

The development comes after a team from Wildlife Institute of India giving green signal to the state government in this regard after taking stock of various aspects like availability of food, forest density, extension of area, habitation inside the 980 square km area forest reserve in Angul district.

Earlier last month, the state government decided to go ahead with the project of releasing tigers in some reserve wildlife forests with an aim to increase the population of the big cats.

Speaking on the matter, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Sandeep Tripathy said “Initially we are planning to release two tigers, a male and a tigress in Satkosia likely by January or February. At present around 15 tigers can easily thrive in Satkosia but we are launching the project on pilot basis. If it is successful then we will also release tigers in other forests,”

“We will write to Madhya Pradesh (MP) government and then efforts will be taken to bring the big cats. They have to be brought from centrally situated state especially like MP since their climate, environment, topography and vegetation is more akin to our state,” Tripathy added.

It is to be noted that presently Odisha has only 40 Royal Bengal Tigers as per the 2016 tiger census with Satkosia home to only two of them, a male and a female tiger.