National Tiger Conservation Authority has been asked to decide its fate of Sundari now. (File photo)
BHOPAL: While the Maharashtra tiger is slowly adjusting to solitary confinement at Van Vihar Bhopal for three human kills, the stand-off has deepened between the Madhya Pradesh and Odisha governments over translocated tigress ‘Sundari’, who was captured on similar charges.
The Odisha forest department has sent reminders to Madhya Pradesh to “take this tigress back”, but officers here are said to be reluctant. Now, National Tiger Conservation Authority has been asked to decide its fate, said sources.
Sundari was shifted from MP’s Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (BTR) to Satkosia Tiger Reserve (STR) in Odisha’s Angul district on June 28, 2018, and was released in the wild on July 6. She had been moved to Odisha a week after translocation of MB2 – a male tiger from Kanha. This pair was part of the country’s first inter-state tiger translocation project. Sundari was captured by Odisha forest officials on November 6, 2018, after it killed two people in the STR core area. MB2 suffered a worse fate – it was killed by poachers a week later. Since then, the Tigress is in a soft enclosure at Raigoda range.
The Odisha forest department has been asking MP to take Sundari back. “They (Odisha) are sending us reminders. We have sent our opinion that we won’t be able to take it back. There is not point. It cannot be re-wilded,” said a wildlife officer in MP.
Odisha waiting for NTCA nod
Odisha officials say they are waiting for NTCA’s decision. “NTCA has to decide about the translocation of animals to Kanha. Based on their decision, the state will take further action,” Ramaswamy P, DFO, Satkosia wildlife division told TOI.
Officials from Kanha had visited Raigoda to see the tigress. “They came and left. They might have communicated to NTCA. Now, NTCA will have to give a written instruction about dealing with Sundari,” the DFO said.
NTCA had initially okayed the translocation of six tigers from MP to Odisha, but only two were shifted. The Rs 26 crore worth project – shared between Centre and state governments – has now been suspended following furious protests by Odisha villagers.
NTCA has asked Satkosia officers to improve protection mechanisms, and create awareness among villagers regarding tigers and its importance in biodiversity. They have also asked to relocate villages for creating space before further implementation of the tiger reintroduction project.
Sundari is accused of killing two people including a woman named Kailashi Sai in Hatibari village on September
12. Angry villagers had ransacked a forest beat house and set ablaze the Tikarpada forest range office.