Bhubaneswar: The case of Sundari, a tigress, which has recently mauled two people to death in Odisha’s Tansi village in Angul district and the recent decision of Maharashtra government of hunting down Avni, a tiger that has been labelled a maneater, show the condition of tigers in the country. The state government, of late, has done a lot of work for the conservation of tiger population. Recently, state Forest and Environment Minister, Bijayshree Routray, indicated the presence of three Royal Bengal tigers in Hemagiri forest in Sundargarh, Debrigad Wildlife Sanctuary in Hirakud and Muniguda in Rayagada district, which put the tiger population at 60.
Concerned over the action taken by the officials, animal experts in the state have shared their thoughts with
Purabi Patra, an animal activist and founder of the Animal Welfare Trust-Ekamra, said it is wrong to declare them as human killers because we are responsible for their situation. Human greed and deforestation in the name of urbanisation and development had left them without any place to stay.
Every species on this planet belong to their habitat and humans are destroying all others’ habitat and encroaching upon their lands. So, it’s just a reaction from other species for their own survival.
She said Sundari and Avni don’t come out to the cities and villages to kill and eat humans rather humans are encroaching upon their places, disturbing them at their home. Avni is a mother to two cubs; so it’s an obvious reaction to save her babies from external threats.
Sundara Narayana Patro, president of Odisha Environmental Society, said that situation is born out of human error. Before bringing the tiger to the place, the officials could have contacted the village through gram panchayat. Also, I don’t think that tigers from other states should be brought because tiger is a difficult animal and needs large space to live. Instead, tiger from Similipal and Nandankanan could have brought.
Lala Aswini Kumar Singh, former research officer at the Forest and Environment department, said the death of two people doesn’t show that the tigress is a maneater; if it is so, the death toll could have been more. A tigress, for example, will need a 20 sq km territory. The official had failed to understand the condition which led to such situation.
Animal conservationist Biswajit Mohanty said, “The only solution to this problem is to relocate the tigress back to its original habitat. First the tiger has to be captured and then returned to Madhya Pradesh. They can’t even put her in a cage as it is a violation as per law.” Regarding the project of increasing the population of the wild cats, he said, “The very idea to bring it to Satkosia was bad enough as the Satkosia Reserve is surrounded by around 102 villages and around 50,000 cattle enter that area everyday to graze. How can you have tigers there? There will always be a conflict.”
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Sandeep Tripathy, explaining the further course of action, said: “A tranquiliser team has already left for the place. The moment they receive a ‘go ahead’ signal from the local police and district administration, they will first tranquilise the tigress and bring out from enclosure and be kept in Rayagada. Safety of the human beings and the tigress are of paramount importance. Now the priority is bringing the situation under control.”
Notably, Sundari was brought to Satkosia June 28 and released into the wild August 17 for increasing the population of the tigers.
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