Government of Odisha is going to establish a melanistic tiger safari – Supposedly the 1st in the World. The safari will be established near Baripada in the District of Mayurbhanj. 200 Ha area adjoining NH-18 have been identified for this purpose. About 100 Ha will be display area and the balance area shall be utilized for creation of veterinary care facilities including rescue center, staff infrastructure and visitors amenities etc. The site is about 15 km distance from Similipal Tiger Reserve matching the same landscape. It is a known fact that Similipal Tiger Reserve is the only home for melanistic tigers in wild around the world. As per last All India Tiger Estimation Report published by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in 2018, melanistic tigers have been found in wild only in Similipal Tiger Reserve.
Surplus tigers from Nandankanan Zoo and rescued/ orphaned tigers who are not fit for wild but fit for display, shall be housed in the safari in an open enclosure. The safari is set to elevate the wildlife tourism sector in Odisha to new heights. This pioneering attraction shall highlight the state’s commitment to preservation and showcasing its unique biodiversity. This initiative will allow conservationists, researchers and enthusiasts and the general public to witness the rare beauty of these majestic creatures up close, while raising awareness about their conservation needs.
The site being located adjoining National Highway and near to Baripada town, is expected to receive impressive footfall of visitors. Further, it would be an added attraction for visitors coming to Similipal Tiger Reserve.
The proposal in this respect submitted by State Government to NTCA has been accorded “in-principle” approval by the Technical Committee of NTCA. A committee to be constituted by NTCA shall visit the site for feasibility study before giving final nod by the Authority. Other statutory clearance including CZA approval shall follow.