Sambalpur: A Royal Bengal Tiger was sighted at the entry point of Debigarh Wildlife Sanctuary in Bargarh after a gap of four years, a senior wildlife official said Saturday.
The big cat was seen entering the sanctuary at around 5 pm December 1 by forest officials, safari vehicles and tourists, the divisional forest officer of Hirakud wildlife division (Debrigarh sanctuary) Anshu Pragyan Das said.
The tourists and the forest workers had watched it walk majestically on the forest road for some time without fear in the absence of disturbance. The onlookers even took pictures of the tiger for around five to ten minutes, a forest official said.
Videos of a Royal Bengal tiger reportedly walking into Debrigarh sanctuary has gone viral in the social media.
Das said “After 2018 no tiger was recorded inside Debrigarh. This particular one appears to be a male sub-adult in dispersal stage. It might stay in Debrigarh or may look for its own territory in the nearby landscape”.
The DFO said a round-the-clock patrolling has been launched in the periphery of the sanctuary and surrounding villages following the sighting of the tiger. Intelligence network has been strengthened and any illegal intruder into Debrigarh will be immediately arrested.
“It’s a huge task now to protect and monitor the big cat inside our domain. We are on the job,” she said.
The forester said two tiger monitoring units have been set up – one inside the sanctuary and another at Sambalpur division office of Hirakud. Twelve patrolling troops supported with patrolling app are patrolling inside the sanctuary 24/7 and metal detectors are being used to scan the vulnerable zones.
“Any civilian seen inside the Debrigarh sanctuary will be arrested as entry into it is a non-bailable offence. Mobiles and locations of all suspected poachers of Bargarh, Sambalpur and nearby districts, poachers in villages around Debrigarh, livestock grazers, shopkeepers in suspect list are under surveillance by the wildlife division. We are working in tandem with the local police and public representatives,” Das said.
More than 100 cameras are installed in the length and breadth of the about 350 sq km sanctuary and teams have been deployed to track the animal at all times of the day. Teams have been deployed for tracking the tiger day and night, the DFO added.
People living in the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border claimed to have siughted a Royal Bengal Tiger in the Narayanpatna forest range of Koraput district of the state in November last week.
The forest department had then launched a massive awareness drive in the border villages in Narayanpatna block which shares boundary with Salur mandal of Parvathipuram-Manyam district of Andhra Pradesh.
The animal had returned to Andhra Pradesh, forest department official said.