Sunabeda Campaigns



    Wild Orissa’s SUNABEDA TIGER CONSERVATION PROGRAMME is going on since 1997. As part of this programme special emphasis has been laid upon tiger conservation in the Sunabeda-Khariar forest belt located in the Nuaparha District of Orissa. Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of 600 sq kms, out of this 243.60 sq kms comes under core and remaining under buffer zone. The forests are characterized with a series of long hill ranges 930 m to 90 m high with slopes often steep to precipitous) running approximately north to south. The intervening space is watered by three rivers, eleven major streams etc. Nuapara is located about 600 kms away from the state capital Bhubaneswar.

    Apart from the sanctuary proper the adjoining Khariar forests under the jurisdiction of the Khariar Forest Division, are a continuous habitat of similar forest type and wildlife. Nearly 350-400 sq kms under the Khariar Forest Division of excellent forest cover (possessing quality for a core area-which when considered with the Sunabeda sanctuary core area of about 250 sq kms would mean a contiguos core forest area of about 600-650 sq kms) exists which adjoins the Sunabeda Sanctuary to its southern boundary, where tigers and an excellent prey base are available. THUS A COMPACT PATCH OF ABOUT 1000-1400 SQ KMS COULD BE EARMARKED FOR A SUNABEDA TIGER RESERVE in the future.

    Prey base for the tiger in Sunabeda-Khariar:- Sambar Deer, Cheetal Deer, Chousingha, Wild Boar, Gaur, Barking Deer etc. There are about 32 tigers and 40 leopards in these forests as per the 2004 census.

    Human habitation is sparse and isolated and could be consolidated so that developmental benefits could accrue to the tribals in form of better education and health facilities. Protection of these forests would help in conserving the water resources of this drought prone area. THE MAIN REASON WHY KALAHANDI (Nuapara district was carved out later) DISTRICT IS EXPERIENCING SEVERE DROUGHTS OVER THE LAST FEW DECADES IS DUE TO DEFORESTATION.

    Apart from the above the Udanti Wildlife sanctuary on the Chhattisgarh side adjoins this above mentioned forest patch, which are further linked to the Sitanadi Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sitanadi and Udanti Wildlife sanctuaries on the Chhattisgarh side have already been shortlisted by the Steering Committee of Project Tiger for inclusion under the Project Tiger scheme during the 10th Five Year Plan.

    Wild Buffaloes are still visiting the Khariar forests from the Udanti side.

    As part of this programme Wild Orissa has :-

    • carried out field visits inside these forests from time to time.

    • carried out field surveys from time to time for the tiger and other animals

    • associated with the state forest department during tiger census and co-ordinated with the state forest department in steps to conserve the tiger in Sunabeda.

    • briefed the press and media for the cause of tiger conservation in Sunabeda-Khariar  forests

    • apprised elected representatives on the issue of tiger conservation in Sunabeda whereby this was raised in the Parliament and Assembly briefed His Excellency The Governor of Orissa and other senior dignitaries on tiger conservation in Sunabeda during the National Symposium on Conservation of Wild Tigers in Orissa organised by Wild Orissa

    • conducted a symposium on tiger conservation and focussed on tiger conservation in Sunabeda interacted with the local people and instilled amongst them a desire to protect Sunabeda-Khariar without whose support tiger conservation would not be possible

    The forests of Sunabeda-Khariar in the Nuapara district of Orissa constitute a vital tiger habitat, which holds excellent promise for the future of the tiger conservation in central India. The most important factor is a healthy population of tigers, which the 2002 & 2004 census had put at 24 and 32 respectively, for the Sunabeda Sanctuary itself! With so many tigers, and considering the presence of a few more from the adjoining Khariar forests (Orissa), a viable genetic pool capable of sustaining for more than many decades is available. Sparsely populated with human beings, and with forests not yet damaged or plundered, these forests in Orissa are yet to get the necessary attention. Wild Orissa has been campaigning for their inclusion under the Project Tiger Scheme since the last 10 years now, and it has also carried out a detailed survey with the assistance of the WWF-India, apart from it’s members participating in tiger/leopard enumeration exercises.

    The Government of Orissa has forwarded the proposal to the Project Tiger Directorate of the Government of India in the year 2004. Any loss of time in bringing these forests under the Tiger Project Scheme would only be severely detrimental for the future of the tiger in Orissa, as Sunabeda-Khariar forests hold the biggest promise after the famous Similipal forests.

    In this regard it also being mentioned that the Chattisgarh state government has already initiated actions for getting the Sitanadi and Udanti forest areas of that state under the Project Tiger scheme, and since these forest areas constitute a contiguous forest patch with the Sunabeda-Khariar forests of Orissa, we should make all attempts to also bring the latter under the said scheme, by which an extremely viable tiger habitat would be available for our future generations. The Steering Committee of Project Tiger has already cleared the Sitanadi and Udanti forests of Chattisgarh for inclusion under the Project Tiger Scheme in the year 2003, during the 10th Five Year plan, but Sunabeda-Khariar could not find place as the state government of Orissa was yet to forward the proposal for them.

    The extremely rare Wild Buffalo, Bubalus bubalis, are still using the aforementioned forest corridor to enter Orissa, and the Orissa state would definitely become all the more poorer if this fragile connectivity is broken up in future. Tigers are also present in good numbers on the Chhatisgarh side, which argues, for the immediate inclusion of the Sunabeda-Khariar forests under the Project Tiger Scheme.

    You are urged to intervene in this matter and address suitable correspondences to the following, with a copy marked to us : -

    The Union Minister of Environment & Forests

    We hope that your intervention would definitely help in getting the Sunabeda-Khariar forest areas under the Project Tiger Scheme.