Trained elephants of the Similipal Tiger Reserve in Odisha.File photo
Patrolling in the Satkosia Tiger Reserve is set to be strengthened as two trained elephants would be deployed there shortly.
Trained elephants will help ground-level forest guards patrol deep in the forest where jeeps cannot go.
The two elephants are being brought from the Similipal Tiger Reserve.
“We are mobilising a few trained elephants as per the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority. The elephant deployment in STR at present has no connection with the possible release of tigress Sundari, imported from Madhya Pradesh, from the special enclosure set up inside Satkosia,” said Sandeep Tripathi, Principal Chief Conservator Forest (Wildlife).
Sources in the Forest and Environment Department said the authorities did not want to leave any stone unturned before approaching the NTCA for resuming the ambitious tiger reintroduction programme in Satkosia.
The tiger reintroduction programme in STR had run into rough weather following the death of India’s first inter-State translocated tiger last year.
The Odisha government had planned to bring six tigers (three male and three female) from Madhya Pradesh to increase the feline population in Satkosia. Last year, one pair of big cats was brought to Satkosia.
However, the programme did not go as per plan. While the tiger T1 reportedly died after falling into a poaching trap, there was huge discontentment among villagers residing in the buffer areas over the frequent straying of the tigress into human habitation. As the situation went out of control following a human kill, the tigress was captured. Subsequently, the programme was put on hold.