Odisha Plans World's First Melanistic Tiger Safari

  • 26 Jan 2024

On January 24, the Odisha Government unveiled its groundbreaking initiative to establish the world's first melanistic tiger safari, set to be located near Baripada, the district headquarter town of Mayurbhanj.

Key Points

  • Unique Safari Location: The melanistic tiger safari will span 200 hectares near Baripada, with about 100 hectares designated for display purposes.
  • The chosen site, approximately 15 km from the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR), mirrors the reserve's natural landscape.
  • Home of Melanistic Tigers: STR stands as the sole habitat for melanistic tigers in the wild globally, as per the National Tiger Conservation Authority's 2018 report.
  • Purpose of the Safari: The safari will house surplus tigers from Nandankanan Zoo and rescued or orphaned tigers unfit for the wild but suitable for display. Open enclosures will provide a habitat for these tigers.
  • Elevating Wildlife Tourism: The State Forest and Environment Department foresees the melanistic tiger safari as a game-changer in Odisha's wildlife tourism sector.
  • This pioneering attraction emphasizes the State's commitment to biodiversity preservation and conservation awareness.
  • Feasibility Study and Approvals: The proposal, submitted to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), received in-principle approval from the Technical Committee. A committee formed by the NTCA will conduct a feasibility study before granting final approval. Additional clearances, including CZA approval, are pending.
  • Impressive Footfall Potential: Positioned adjacent to the National Highway and close to Baripada town, the safari is expected to attract a significant number of visitors. It also serves as an additional draw for those visiting the Similipal Tiger Reserve.
  • Conservation Awareness: The safari intends to offer a close encounter with the rare beauty of melanistic tigers, fostering awareness about their conservation needs.