Odisha activist seeks release of confined wild tiger

Bhubaneswar, May 8 (IANS) An animal rights activist Wednesday demanded the release of a wild tiger who walked into a zoo in Odisha and has been in captivity since the past over a week.

Biswajit Mohanty, secretary of the Wildlife Society of Odisha, who is also a member of the National Board for Wildlife, said the tiger in Nandankanan zoo near state capital Bhubaneswar has “every right to lead a free life”.

“It is a matter of concern and demonstrates the lack of commitment of the state government for tiger conservation,” he told IANS.

He apprehends that the zoo, which gained notoriety in 2000 for tiger deaths, wants to keep the big cat for breeding purposes.

“How can the state forest department allow this cruelty? We have written a letter of protest to the National Tiger Conservation Authority demanding the release of the tiger,” Mohanty said.

The seven-year-old Royal Bengal tiger, who had been roaming in the nearby area creating panic, walked into the zoo’s white tiger safari area April 29.

Zoo officials said they have closed the safari for an indefinite period. They also said an environment that is conducive has been created for the new tiger in the safari area.

The tigers of the zoo have been kept away from the new big cat.

Nandankanan Zoological Park, literally meaning ‘The Garden of Heaven’, is spread over 425 hectares. It has over 1,200 animals and offers a first-of-its-kind white tiger safari, spread over 12 hectares.

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