Tigress Sundari returns to MP’s Kanha reserve after being tranquilised

BHUBANESHWAR: The tigress Sundari on Tuesday evening headed for Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh in a special vehicle that has a cage inside it from Satkosia Tiger Reserve.
The feline had to be tranquilised in the enclosure, where she was lodged in Satkosia to bring her to the cage.
The five-member team from Kanha, which had come here three days ago to take back Sundari, first tried to plant a cage at the gate of the enclosure to allure the tigress to come inside it on its own. But, the animal showed indifference to the cage and kept walking around inside the enclosure forcing the team to dart it and bring it to the cage.
“Sundari was taken inside the cage. After being darted, its health was checked by a team of veterinary doctors. Then she was taken inside the vehicle,” said a top wildlife officer.
Kanha will be Sundari’s third home (habitat) in three years as she was in Bandhavgarh when brought to Satkosia. After staying in Satkosia for close to three years, it was shifted to Kanha.
The return of tigress Sundari, currently lodged in an enclosure in Satkosia Tiger Reserve, to Madhya Pradesh, has put full stop on state’s ambitious tiger translocation project, thus exposing the forest department’s sheer lack of calculation and poor preparedness.
With Sundari’s shifting from Satkosia to Ghorela Centre at Kanha, where it will be re-wild, the ambitious first inter-state translocation project has come to an end. Satkosia was to get three pairs of Royal Bengal Tiger (RBT) from different sanctuaries of MP in phases.
In the first phase, it had received a male and a female RBT. The male (MB2) had allegedly been killed by poachers by planting snare. Sundari reportedly developed man-eating tendencies forcing the Odisha government to return it.
In December, 2019 the NTCA had written to then Odisha chief secretary Asit Tripathy to return back the tigress immediately saying that it can’t be allowed to be kept in a small enclosure for any longer.
“In the interest of tiger conservation, it shall be withdrawn with immediate effect. The tiger translocation project at Satkosia shall remain suspended till the ground situation in the field improves as per NTCA protocol,” NTCA latter had said.
“Sundari will be kept at Ghorela re-wild centre. She will be kept under observation to see whether wild behavior returns to her. Then, we will be able to take a decision on her further release to the wild,” said Kanha field director S K Singh.

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