By Siba Mohanty – BHUBANESWAR
04th May 2013 02:22 PM
Even as the freedom of the straying tiger hangs in balance, the large cat seems to have found a supporter in Forest and Environment Minister Bijoyshree Routray who was instrumental in the release of the leopard that had wandered into a human habitation last year in August.
Routray on Friday said the tiger should be released back into the wild. “The Wildlife Wing is assessing various factors and I have given my view. In my opinion, the tiger should be released back into the wild,” he told this paper.
Whether the Minister’s views will have any bearing on the decision of the State’s Chief Wildlife Warden, who is mandated with the responsibility of deciding the wild animal’s release or transfer to a zoo, is another matter but one thing is clear that there cannot be two yardsticks for a similar issue.
Last year, when the young leopard was captured after walking into a shop in Sonepur, a debate over its fate took place.
Routray strongly advocated for freedom of the feline and good sense prevailed on the Wildlife Wing which decided to release it in a forest in Badmal reserve forest of Rairakhole. All the apprehensions about its life and man-animal conflict have now been put to rest.
However, this time the Nandankanan-bound tiger is facing odds with the Department strongly advocating for housing the large cat in the Zoo for breeding purposes on the plea that its original habitat is unknown and a release will be fraught with risks.
The technical committee of the Zoo seems to have given a set of middling recommendations basing on which a decision may be taken by the CWW.
In case of the leopard too, technical panel had made a similar recommendations. While it had cleared the health of the large cat for release after examining its treatment, at the same time it had suggested that the leopard should be housed in the Zoo for breeding purposes.