The Tiger brought from Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh to Odisha’s Satkosia is reported to be dead after forest officials stumbled upon its carcass in the wildlife sanctuary’s core area.
In Odisha, this is the second case of a tiger dying within three weeks. Earlier, in October, forest officials discovered the carcass of a male tiger in Debrigarh Sanctuary. The state Crime Branch, investigating the case, is interrogating four alleged poachers arrested on this matter.
Releasing a statement on the preliminary findings, the forest department said, “A deep lacerated and five-days-old infected wound was observed on the dorsal neck region of the tiger, which may be the cause of the mortality”.
It further added that the incident occurred “500 metres from Raigoda to Nuagoda forest road inside… Athgarh Forest Division”.
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) chief Anup Nayak was not available to comment.
“This obviously tells us about the efficiency of their (forest department’s) administration”, said Odisha’s former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Bijay Ketan Patnaik.
On Satkosia’s relocation project, tiger conservationist Dr Ullas Karanth had earlier told The Indian Express, “Dumping tigers, in areas with low prey, lots of humans and cattle, is an invitation for increasing conflicts… to the ultimate loss of public support for tiger conservation.”
“A core area devoid of humans is an essential ingredient for successful tiger conservation and reintroduction,” confirmed senior scientist with Wildlife Institute of India Dr Y V Jhala.
In June, the 195-kg tiger was shifted to revive Satkosia’s dwindling big cat population. Days later, a tigress named ‘Sundari’ was also brought in from Bandhavgarh National Park.
The shifting of both big cats was part of the first case of inter-state tiger transfer in the country. This ambitious project, overseen by the NTCA and WII, aimed to shift a total of six tigers (three of either sex) to boost tiger population in Odisha.
“I don’t think MP will be keen on continuing this project with Odisha”, Patnaik said.
In September, The Indian Express reported that this translocation may have violated the NTCA’s own “Standard Operating Procedure for Active Management towards Rehabilitation of Tigers from source areas at the landscape level”.
Page 14 of this SOP, on the NTCA website, states, “Simlipal and Satkosia TRs (tiger reserves) represent a lineage that produces melanistic tigers and are likely to be of a unique gene pool in this landscape. We, therefore, need to maintain the genetic integrity of this landscape by refraining from relocating tigers from other areas of Central India into this cluster.”
The tigress, Sundari, had major tension in the Satkosia area after she killed two people. Locals had attacked forest officials, torched the department property in Satkosia and marched to demand removal of all tigers in the area.
An expert team had to tranquillize the animal and she is now in an enclosure constructed by the forest department in Angul district’s Raigoda.
A female kumki (trained) elephant brought to help capture the tigress killed a man, who had gone up to feed it, according to a statement released by the state Forest Department.