Odisha’s Chandaka sanctuary becomes tiger-less!

Bhubaneswar: The tiger population at Chandaka sanctuary on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar in Odisha has reportedly become zero.

Total 16 cameras were installed at several places including Dampara, Godibari, Pithakhia, Dahanigadia, Ambakhali, Pithagadia, Naharthali, Sunakhani and Kuasar to trace the movement of tigers inside Chandaka-Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary. However, not a single pugmark of a tiger was found, indicating that the tiger population has completely vanished from the sanctuary.

A team of forest officials including 22 foresters, 28 forest guards, and 50 anti-elephant squads under the supervision of four rangers had participated in the tiger census at Chandaka sanctuary. But they did not find the presence of a single tiger in the forest.

A source in the forest department said that the sanctuary, which is spread over an area of 175.79 square km, has not seen the presence of tigers for many years. Sometimes, the leopard has been spotted. However, this time it is a matter of concern that the tigers were not seen during the counting.

A couple of leopards were last spotted in the 2020-21 financial year. They are believed to have been wiped out here or they might have fled to other forests, he said.

However, the number of elephants at the forest has increased significantly since a past few years. The number touched 38 at the sanctuary, of these, there are 16 elephants in Bharatpur forest adjoining Bhubaneswar and 22 in other areas of the forest. Of 38 elephants, five are cubs. Apart from elephants, other wild animals like deer, wolf, fox, jackal and rabbit etc. have been found here.

According to reports, only one elephant was spotted at Chandaka Forest during 2017 census, raising concern among wildlife lovers that the elephants at the sanctuary would be empty.

However, the situation has changed drastically over the years, registering a greater number of elephants at the forest. It indicated that the tally increased due to availability of adequate food with proper environment to accommodate the elephants. The elephants are considered to be safe in the forest here due to ‘minimal’ poaching-related threats.

Amid decline of tigers in the sanctuary, the good news is that the presence of elephants continues. The number of elephants is increasing year by year. They are not leaving the forest. Massive bamboo trees have been planted in the forest for them. Special forest personnel have been deployed to provide security. Now the elephant number has reached 38. The exact number of elephants will be clear after the census, which will be conducted in April next year, the forest official said.

Also Read

Comments are closed.