Odisha to rewild ‘man-eater’ tigress Sundari

Bhubaneswar: Even though the tiger translocation project has fallen apart, Tigress Sundari continues to be a headache for the Odisha government, which is now trying its best to safely release the big cat into the wild. The state government is planning to rewild the tigress before releasing it into the forest.

As per the chief wildlife warden of Odisha, the tigress has lost the faculty of preying after spending time enclosures and discussions were held today to take steps for restoration of the hunting abilities of Sundari. At a meeting on the future of the tigress, discussions were held on rewilding of Sundari for which a 25 hectare enclosure has been proposed. Experts from National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Wildlife Institute of India will be roped in to assist in rewilding efforts.

“After staying in captivity for long, it is necessary to rewild the animal. It’s a procedure and the animal can be released to the forest after rewilding. As far as the timeline is concerned, it will depend on the condition of the tigress and its adaptability,” said Anup Nayak, NTCA member secretary.

Moreover, discussions were held to shift the tigress from the Satkosia wildlife division to the Mahanadi wildlife division. Apart from the chief wildlife warden of Odisha, the meeting was attended by NTCA member secretary and officials of the Satkosia forest division.

Sundari, which was brought from the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh in June 2018, was released into the Satkosia Tiger Reserve in August as a part of the inter-state tiger translocation project.

But allegations of death of two persons and a bullock due to attack by the tigress in separate incidents in Baghamunda and Tainsi villages inside the tiger reserve area in October last year sparked public outcry and forced the Forest department to relocate the big cat back into the special rehabilitation enclosure.