Satkosia Story


    ‘Wild Orissa’ took up the issue of conservation of tigers in Satkosia-Baisipalli forests in the state of Orissa during 1997, as part of its Wild Tigers Conservation Program. ‘Wild Orissa’ teams have been sent during the course of these past years on occasions like Tiger/Elephant/Crocodile/Waterfowl/etc. censuses, apart from the regular monitoring visits.

    ‘Wild Orissa’ shortlisted campaign points for arguing the case of Satkosia-Baisipalli forests to be brought under the folds of the Project Tiger Scheme. ‘Wild Orissa’ successfully projected the conservation imperatives. The issue of bringing these forests under the Project Tiger scheme was continuously highlighted in the print/visual media from 1997 onwards. Support of elected representatives of people was also enlisted. Detailed and regular interactions were held with policy formulators and administrators for better protection and more intensive wild tiger conservation measures.

    Satkosia and Sunabeda were focussed during the last held National Symposium on Conservation of Wild Tigers in Orissa (NSCWTO) organized by ‘Wild Orissa’, during 2003. The recommendations which emanated from these deliberations laid a strong pitch for bringing forests like Satkosia-Baisipalli, Sunabeda-Khariar, Ghumsur, etc. under the Tiger Reserve fold. Interestingly various aspects of tiger conservation in Satkosia-Baisipalli forests were put forth, including that of voluntary resettlement and relocations of villages located inside the forests. The NSCWTO had brought out a recommendation that all concerned agencies including the government departments of Revenue, Tribal, Education, Health, Social Development, Universities, Research institutions, locals, concerned NGOs working for tiger conservation, need to pool in their resources with the state and central forest wings to successfully carry a voluntary relocation programme.

    Sanctuary Asia, a Mumbai based magazine, featured a Campaign Story sent by Wild Orissa, on Satkosia-Baisipalli forests for bringing under the Tiger Reserve fold. The magazine published 2 articles during 2004 and 2008 on these forests.

    Satkosia and its tiger potential were featured prominently in various publications including those by ‘Wild Orissa’ viz. Untamed Orissa & Tigers On The Brink- An Orissa Story

    They were also campaigned for inclusion as an Important Bird Area under the Important Bird Areas Program launched by the Royal Society of Birds London.

    The Central Government’s Steering Committee gave an 'In Principle Approval' to Satkosia in 2005. The Government finally notified Satkosia as a Project Tiger Reserve on 31 December 2007. The Reserve covers an area of 963 sq kms, spanning the districts of Angul, Cuttack, Boudh and Nayagarh. It has a core area of 532 sq kms. The findings of ‘Wild Orissa’, which has been continuously monitoring and documenting these forests, indicate excellent wildlife diversity. The Reserve overlaps the Mahanadi Elephant Reserve to a large extent, which is home to nearly 500 elephants. The 22 km long Satkosia Gorge caused by the river Mahanadi divides the Chhota Nagpur Plateau from the Eastern Ghats bio-geographical zone. This makes it an area of immense biological prominence. It is the southernmost range of the critically endangered Gharial and is also home to muggers. Many migratory waterfowl take refuge in this unique ‘gorge ecosystem’ in winters.