Odisha reopens white tiger safari for visitors

Bhubaneswar, June 4 (IANS) The white tiger safari at the Nandankanan Zoological Park in Odisha, which was shut about a month ago for safety reasons, was reopened for visitors Tuesday, an official said.

Large number of wildlife lovers had gathered at the gates of the safari which reopened at 9 a.m. “The number of visitors is likely to swell in the coming days,” zoo assistant director Kamal Purohit told IANS.

The safari was closed after a seven-year-old Royal Bengal tiger walked into it April 29. The decision to reopen it was taken after the big cat returned to the wild on May 31.

The pug marks of the tiger, which escaped from the safari after jumping over an 18-foot-high wire fencing, were found in the forest outside of the zoo, from where it had come, Purohit said.

“There is no threat to tourists or the local people as the tiger is in its natural habitat now,” he added.

Nandankanan, literally meaning ‘the garden of heaven’, is spread over 425 hectares on the outskirts of state capital Bhubaneswar. It has over 1,200 animals and offers the first-of-its-kind white tiger safari. Spread over 12 hectares, the safari is home to about 24 tigers, eight of which are white.

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