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Big cats vanishing from Satkosia

 
By Siba Mohanty| ENS - BHUBANESWAR

26th March 2013

Shocking as it may sound, Satkosia Tiger Reserve seems headed the Sariska way. Dwindling tiger signs and absence of breeding since two years in the habitat have rung alarm bells for Odisha’s second tiger reserve (TR).

In the 2010 enumeration by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), the tiger population was estimated at eight. A host of factors now indicates that the number may have declined drastically. Although the management of the tiger reserve is collecting tiger signs from the prime habitats, they have been declining and are discouraging to say the least.

According to sources, camera traps installed in the tiger reserve have shown signs of existence of large cats, but the population is reported to have hit the nadir. Already designated a low tiger density reserve, the drop in population may push the large cats into extinction in Satkosia soon. The number at present could well be just one or two and unless urgent measures are taken, there would be none left in near future.

‘’Tiger population does not seem to be thriving since there are no signs of cubs with mothers or even juveniles to suggest that breeding is taking place and the cycle is going on. This could be fatal to the population,’’ said a source in Satkosia. Interestingly, prey base in the tiger habitat, which is connected to the tiger habitats of Central and Southern Odisha and onwards to the Central India tiger landscape, has improved over the last few years. The population of wild boar, spotted deer and sambhar has jumped significantly, but there has been no sign of an improvement in tiger population.

The Satkosia TR management too is aware of the impending crisis. “Prey base has improved and so has the habitat and there is no incident of poaching and   no sign of repopulation. It may have to do with the sex ratio of the existing population,” Field Director Pandav Behera told “Express” on Monday.


 
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