Presence of black tigers only found in Odisha’s Similipal: Centre

Bhubaneswar: Melanistic or black tigers have been sighted only in Odisha’s Similipal, revealed Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey at Rajya Sabha yesterday.

The minister made this revelation while replying to a query of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Prashanta Nanda.

“Melanistic tigers have been recorded only in Similipal Tiger Reserve in Odisha. As per the 2022 cycle of the All India Tiger Estimation, a total of 16 tigers were recorded in Similipal, out of which 10 were melanistic,” said the minister.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has issued a standard operating procedure for active management and rehabilitation of tigers from source areas at landscape level, added the minister.

Based on genetic composition, the Similipal Tiger Reserve has been identified as a distinct genetic cluster for conservation, he revealed.

Funding assistance is provided under the ongoing centrally-sponsored scheme of Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (CSS-IDWH) to Similipal for conservation of tigers, raising awareness on the big cats & other wildlife conservation, habitat management, protection, eco-development, human resource & infrastructure development and voluntary village relocation, said the minister.

The Centre has released Rs 659.82 lakh to Similipal in 2022-23 fiscal while the amount was Rs 766.06 lakh in 2021-22, Rs 539.39 lakh in 2020-21, Rs 660.53 lakh in 2019-20 and Rs 650.88 lakh in 2018-19 fiscal.

The BJD MP had sought to know details regarding the black tigers recorded in different forests in the country, including in Similipal and Kandhamal forests area in Odisha.

He also sought the minister’s replies on government action to protect the black tigers and the funds sanctioned for this purpose.

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