Debrigarh set to become 3rd tiger reserve of Odisha as big cat sighted again

Bhubaneswar: After a gap of a few months, a tiger was spotted at Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary in Sambalpur district of Odisha recently.

Movement of the tiger was captured in the cameras installed at the sanctuary, sources said.

“A tiger from a forest in neighbouring Chhattisgarh is regularly frequenting to Debrigarh. In fact, the big cat has made the sanctuary as its second home. As per our information, the tiger is still in Debrigarh,” said an official of the Forest department.

The tiger is often straying into two forests in Bargarh district. The Forest department is continuously tracking its movement, he added.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has recently given its approval to a proposal of Odisha government to declare Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary as a tiger reserve.

The state government had proposed to declare Debrigarh as a tiger reserve in 2018. Debrigarh will be the third tiger reserve of Odisha after Similipal and Satkosia. The Forest department has initiated preparation in this regard, sources said.

“Additional cameras have been installed at the sanctuary. An additional squad has been sanctioned to keep tab on the big cats at Debrigarh. A biologist is regularly visiting the sanctuary to analyze the data on the pugmarks,” said the official.

Notably, a Royal Bengal Tiger was spotted at Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary for the first time in five years on December 1 last year.

A group of tourists had spotted the young sub-adult tiger at the entrance of the sanctuary.

Forest department officials had then claimed that tigers from forests in Chhattisgarh often stray into Debrigarh.

Spread of 804.51 sq km area, Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary has plenty of prey animals for tigers and other carnivorous animals.

Wild animals such as bison, sambar, chital, chowsingha, wild boar and leopard are sighted frequently at the sanctuary. Debrigarh is also home to one of the largest bat habitats in the world, sources said.

“One can find at least 30 prey animals per sq km at Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary. This is very ideal condition for growth of tiger population at Debrigarh,” said a wildlife expert.


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