Angul: Locals gheraoed the district collectorate here protesting the free movement of Royal Bengal tigers brought from Madhya Pradesh at Satkosia Tiger Reserve.
Thousands of forest dwellers from panchayats including Jagannathpur, Purunakote, Tikarpada, Matiasahi, Manikjodi and Balang carried out the protest on Wednesday demanding their security from the big cats freely moving after translocation.
They warned the DFO and threatened the forest department to gun down the Royal Bengal tigers if they will not keep the tigers in enclosure.
The protesters alleged that the forest department released the tigers into the wild without informing them.
“The forest officials may release tigers, elephants or bears the forest, we have no objection. But, they should inform the villagers before releasing the wild animals in the area. The panicked villagers are bound to stay inside their houses fearing the tigers,” a protester said.
He also alleged a forest official of terming the locals as ‘anti-socials’ and ‘Maoists’.
“The official, who is thinking us as Maoists, might be a terrorist, or else he would never had said like this,” he added.
The locals termed the programme by the forest department at Satkosia as ‘anti-people’ activities.
“Without informing people residing in the area, the forest officials released two tigers in the forest. It is also heard that the tiger, which has been brought from Kanha Tiger Reserve, had killed several animals and humans there. Therefore, the forest officials released the furious tiger into the wild here,” another protester said.
The villagers alleged that their livelihoods are affected due to the wild tigers as it is not safe to leave their domestic animals like cows and goats outside for grazing.
Reports said that the protestors are all set to approach Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today demanding their safety and security inside the forest out of tiger scare.
With the protest by locals living in the forest, the future of the big cats, who were relocated from Madhya Pradesh to Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Angul district, is under threat.
Notably, two tigers including a tigress have been relocated to Odisha from Madhya Pradesh in June as part of inter-state tiger relocation exercise to increase tiger population at Satkosia Tiger Reserve.
While the tiger known as ‘Mahabir’ was brought from Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh on June 21, the royal bengal tigress called as ‘Sundri’ was relocated to the reserve from Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh on June 28.