Plans afoot to rationalise Odisha tiger reserve boundary

Bhubaneswar, Jan 12 (IANS) Plans are afoot to remove 118 villages from the notified area of the Satkosia Tiger Reserve, a move that an official said will rationalise the boundary of the wildlife habitat.

“The 118 villages coming under the tiger reserve will be de-notified and a fresh boundary notified by adding adjoining forest area spread over 228 square km into the reserve,” divisional forest officer of Satkosia wildlife sanctuary S.M.T. Rehman said.

With the de-notification of the villages, their residents can carry out developmental activities, including cutting of trees planted in their houses, without seeking prior permission of the forest department.

Besides, the new boundary will restrict human habitat and help conserve the habitat of tigers and other wildlife in the sanctuary.

A senior official said that the National Board for Wildlife was preparing a report on the rationalisation of the Satkosia Tiger Reserve, one of the two tiger reserves in Odisha spread over the districts of Angul, Cuttack, Nayagarh and Boudh.

“The wildlife board has constituted a committee, which has already visited the area several times to prepare a report for the boundary rationalisation. We are expecting a report soon,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) S.S. Srivastav told IANS.

While 118 villages fall under the tiger reserve’s notified area, 11 others are in the core area.

The authorities want to move out the core area villagers to conserve the tiger habitat.

According to the Wildlife Institute of India, every critical tiger habitat should have a 1,000-3,000 sq km buffer zone for effective forest conservation and wildlife protection.

The Satkosia reserve sprawls over 963.87sq km and has 523.61sq km as core area. The area is also a part of the Mahanadi elephant reserve.

Satkosia is also a meeting point of two bio-geographic regions of India – the Deccan peninsula and the Eastern Ghats – contributing to immense biodiversity in the region.

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