Attempt to retain it as a captive animal opposed

Biswajit Mohanty, Secretary of Wildlife Society of Orissa, on Wednesday demanded immediate release of the wild tiger that walked into the Nandankanan Zoological Park here recently.

Pugmarks sighted

In a letter addressed to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Mr. Mohanty urged the authorities to invoke powers under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and direct the Forest Department of the State government to immediately take steps to release the tiger in the wild. The tiger’s pugmarks have been sighted inside the park and the adjacent Chandaka wildlife sanctuary since the last three months and the authorities have been trying their best to capture it by laying traps, Mr. Mohanty said in the letter.

“While we appreciate the expertise of the zoo which was put to good use in successful capture of the straying tiger, we are shocked by their attempt to retain it as a captive animal,” he said.

Stating that news reports suggested that the State Forest Department was likely to retain the tiger apparently to bolster its tiger gene pool for captive breeding, Mr. Mohanty opposed the proposed move of the State government which he said was a blatant violation of the wildlife laws as well as the standard operating procedure issued by NTCA.

“While the NTCA is spending crores of rupees annually on augmenting the wild tiger population, it is tragic that the Odisha Forest Department wants to remove them from the wild and conserve tigers in the zoos,” Mr. Mohanty observed.

“It is an admitted fact that the captured tiger is healthy and a fully capable male which can hunt and live in a tiger habitat. It is also admitted that it is not a man eater or a cattle lifter,” he said in his letter to the NTCA.

“The Chief Wildlife Warden should have decided on its release after assessing the suitable tiger habitat where it can be done. Satkosia Tiger Reserve contains adequate prey base and enough space for more tigers and hence could be a good area for this tiger. However, though eight days have passed no such plan has been initiated by the Forest Department,” Mr. Mohanty said.

  • The tiger walked into the Nandankanan Zoological Park recently

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