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Satkosia tiger reserve set to get 172 sq km more

Indian Express
New Delhi
18 Nov 2017

BHUBANESWAR: Satkosia, Odisha’s second tiger reserve (TR), is going to be richer by 172 sq km as boundary rationalisation of Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary has been cleared by the Centre.

Having received the nod from Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), State Government is busy giving final touches to exclusion of 104 villages that were within limits of the sanctuary while relocating one village from the core area of the tiger reserve.

There are 136 villages located inside the TR, of which 118 are in Satkosia, while the rest lay within Baisipalli Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s the villages in Satkosia that were under scanner when boundary rationalisation was planned.Interestingly, the TR is now left with just one aging tiger which is why the State Government is working on a tiger replacement plan. It is seeking a pair from Madhya Pradesh to start repopulation of the large cats.Of the 104 villages which would be excluded, as many as 43 are in Angul district, 27 in Cuttack, 20 in Nayagarh and 14 are in Boudh.

According to sources in Forest Department, the area of Satkosia TR would rise from 963.87 sq km to 1136.7 sq km following the rationalisation which included bringing in more forest blocks.
The area of Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary will also rise from 795.52 sq km to 968.35 sq km.

The rationalisation would include exclusion of 186.96 sq km and addition of 359.79 sqm km in form of forest blocks in Athamallick, Angul, Boudh, Dhenkanal and Athagarh.

The Forest Department has already begun the process which would require demarcation of the boundary, generation of digital maps before the final gazette notification is issued. This may need about three months. A bigger protected area is expected to work well for Satkosia which has seen a sharp decline in tiger population in past and is now trying to get a pair of large cats from MP.
Forest and Environment Minister Bijoyshree Routray and Chief Wildlife Warden Sandeep Tripathy have already written to their counterparts in MP. The Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India will carry out selection, translocation, radio-collaring and monitoring of the pair.

With replacement plan in its early stage, Forest Department is at an advanced stage of relocating 78 families from Raigoda village, located in TR’s core zone.The Government has already started site development at Saruali village where temporary houses are being built while road and water supply is being provided.

Apart from `10 lakh as compensation package, which is mandated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), the State Government is giving the 78 families houses under Indira Awas Yojana.