Wild Orissa sees threat to wildlife

Wild Orissa, a voluntary organisation that works on conservation of wildlife, has expressed concern over the government’s move to denotify 159 sq km of forests from the Satkosia Gorge Wildlife Sanctuary and Satkosia Tiger Reserve.

“The proposal is not at all acceptable. It will severely impact wildlife in the area. In case such a proposal is approved, it will decrease the space available for the tiger and other wildlife species,” Wild Orissa said.

It said this would also adversely impact the prospects of the tiger in the State as the Satkosia-Baisipalli forests are part of a very large forest patch of 13,459 sq km (covering parts of the districts of Phulbani, Ganjam, and Kalahandi) with several pockets reporting tiger presence.

The government had notified the Satkosia Tiger Reserve in 2007 by including the two contiguous wildlife sanctuaries, namely, Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary and the Baisipali Sanctuary with 523.61 sq. km as the core area out of total 963.87 sq. km. of the reserve.

“Satkosia Tiger Reserve has a tremendous genetic and ecological importance as it is the wet portion of the Deccan Zone. It has a significant elephant population in deciduous forests. The tiger reserve is also important for the natural habitat of two endangered species of fresh water crocodilians such as gharial and mugger, and a sizeable population of tiger, leopard, gaur, sambar, chowsingha, and barking deer,” it said.

Wild Orissa claimed that the threats to the reserve were mainly from people residing outside through their timber smuggling and poaching. “If a large part of this buffer is denotified, the integrity of the Satkosia Tiger Reserve will be adversely affected, tigers will be compressed into a much smaller space. Human and cattle pressures on the tiger reserve from outside will increase,” the organisation said.

The move will decrease the space available for tiger and other species, it says

It has a significant elephant population too

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