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Black Tiger Safari Odisha’s

Title: Odisha’s Revolutionary Melanistic Tiger Safari Enhance Tourism and Research

Introduction:

In a groundbreaking move, Odisha has unveiled plans for the world’s first exclusive melanistic tiger safari adjacent to the Similipal Tiger Reserve. The primary objective is to amplify tourism and provide improved research opportunities, while ensuring public access to observe these elusive tigers that are known to be rarely sighted in forested areas.

Exploring the Black Tigers Phenomenon:

Black tigers, also referred to as pseudo-melanistic tigers, are essentially Bengal tigers with a notable increase in melanin production. This results in the distinctive presence of dark stripes, as opposed to the traditional orange and black pattern. Currently, the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) in Odisha is the sole habitat of these remarkable creatures.

Historical Significance and Records:

The initial documented sighting of black tigers within the Similipal region dates back to 1975-1976, as reported by forest officials. Subsequently, in 1993, a melanistic tiger was incidentally killed in self-defense, leading to crucial scientific documentation. Research indicates that the tigers within the STR likely descended from a small, isolated population.

Present Population Statistics:

According to the most recent available data from 2022, it is estimated that out of the 16 tigers inhabiting the STR, approximately 10 of them exhibit the pseudomelanistic trait. The ongoing tiger census in Odisha suggests that the actual population might surpass the current estimations.

Design and Location of the Safari:

The Odisha government has designated a sprawling 200-hectare site, conveniently situated along National Highway 18, a mere 15 kilometers away from the Similipal reserve. This site will be divided into two sections – 100 hectares to accommodate enclosures and necessary facilities, while the remaining 100 hectares will be dedicated to visitor zones and veterinary centers.

Initial Phase and Future Expansion:

Initially, the safari will house three pseudomelanistic tigers from Nandankanan Zoo, along with unfit rescued tigers. Subsequently, through a carefully implemented breeding program and additional rescue endeavors, the number of tigers will gradually increase.

In-Principle Approvals and Final Authorization:

The National Tiger Conservation Authority has granted in-principle approval for the melanistic tiger safari. However, before obtaining the final authorizations, a comprehensive site feasibility study will be conducted. Additionally, clearances from the Central Zoo Authority are imperative in this process.

Target Launch and Completion:

With all the necessary approvals and construction plans in place, the state government of Odisha aims to introduce the world to this unique melanistic tiger safari by October 2024. The chosen site, located near the Similipal reserve forests, will serve as a captivating attraction promoting conservation efforts.

Balancing Concerns:

While some activists voice concerns about captive tigers losing their natural behaviors when compared to their counterparts in the wild, others argue that controlled tourism can ultimately contribute to conservation efforts. By providing visitors with the rare opportunity to safely witness the black tigers, an increased interest in conservation may emerge.

Conclusion:

Odisha’s visionary decision to establish an exclusive melanistic tiger safari demonstrates their commitment to advancing tourism and supporting valuable research initiatives. By bridging the gap between humans and these enigmatic tigers, this safari will allow visitors to not only marvel at their beauty but also contribute to the conservation of these magnificent creatures.

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