Panic grips villages surrounding Satkosia reserve after tiger freed into forest

Angul: The relocation of two tigers from Madhya Pradesh to the Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Angul district could have cheered wild life enthusiasts, but fear of the wild cat is giving sleepless nights to villagers in and around the forest.

Residents of these villages have been living in constant fear ever since one of the tigers was released into the forest on July 6.

“Normal life has been hit and houses in our village are kept closed all the times. We used to move freely before the tiger was brought but things have changed ever since the animal was released to the forest. We are forced to return to our homes before dusk,” said Sushma Nayak a local.

The villagers in these villages can be spotted carrying sticks in hand to tackle possible confrontation with the big cat. The people are even afraid to move alone and often seen in groups while visiting nearby areas.

“Parents are forced to accompany their kids to the school due to scare surrounding the tiger. The doors and windows of the houses are kept closed,” said another  villager, Dileswar Pradhan adding that the administration and forest department did not even bother to alert them after releasing the wild cat into the jungle.

Another local, Biraja Jani said, “The locals are even afraid of going to their farms. Normal has been badly hit.”

On the other hand, the forest department ruled out possibility of any attack by the animal and asked the locals not to panic.

“We are monitoring the tiger’s movement on a regular basis. These animals normally do not venture into human settlement nor attack human beings. Besides, the vegetation in the five forests of Satkosia is healthy and therefore there is no reason for the tiger to intrude into these villages,” informed Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Sudarsan Panda.