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MP puts shifting of tigers to Satkosia on hold over protest in Odisha

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Bhubaneswar: With resentment brewing fast among villagers over translocation of tigers to Odisha’s Satkosia Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh government has shelved the subsequent phase of shifting of the big cats.

This comes two days after thousands of villagers from Jagannathpur, Purunakote, Tikarpada, Matiasahi, Manikjodi and Balang panchayats gheraoed Angul Collectorate office demanding security alleging threat to their lives.

The reports of protest prompted the MP forest department to put second phase translocation exercise on hold for indefinite period.

While a pair of tigers have already been released to Satkosia Tiger Reserve last month, four more tigers were to be translocated in a phased manner. Notably, third tiger was to be brought from Kanha National Park.

The tiger captured from Kanha has, meanwhile, been shifted to Sanjay Dubri National Park.

“Translocation of remaining tigers depends on response of the two that have already been sent to Satkosia Tiger Reserve,” Shahbaz Ahmad, Chief Wildlife Warden of Madhya Pradesh told a national newspaper.

It may be recalled here that the agitating villagers had threatened the forest department to gun down the Royal Bengal Tigers (RBTs) if they are not kept in enclosure.

Also Read: Locals threaten to shoot Royal Bengal tigers in Odisha’s Satkosia

The villagers feared for their lives and expressed that the forest department released the animals into the wild without any prior notice to them as they believed them to be man-eaters.

Earlier last month, a tiger ‘Mahabir’ was brought from Kanha Tiger Reserve on June 21 and a Royal Bengal Tigress named ‘Sundri’ was relocated to the reserve from Bandhavgarh National Park on June 28.

Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Climate Change, National Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institute of India had prepared a blueprint for reintroduction of tigers in Satkosia to increase its population. For this, the Madhya Pradesh government was approached to spare three pairs of tigers to Odisha government.