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About Similipal Tiger Reserve


A rare melanistic tiger was found dead in the core area of Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR).


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR)
  2. What are Melanistic animals?
  3. Other Major Protected Areas in Odisha

About Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR)

  • Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) is a protected area located in the Mayurbhanj District in the Northernmost part of Odisha.
  • It was declared a ‘Tiger Reserve’ in 1956 and is included in the national conservation programme ‘Project Tiger’ since 1973.
Location and Terrain:
  • STR is surrounded by high plateaus and hills, with the highest peak being the twin peaks of Khairiburu and Meghashini (1515m above mean sea level).
  • The terrain is mostly undulating and hilly, interspersed with open grasslands and wooded areas.
  • A mix of different forest types and habitats dominate, with Northern tropical moist deciduous dominating some semi-evergreen patches.
  • Sal is the dominant tree species here.
  • There are a staggering 1078 species of plants, including 94 species of orchids, found in STR.
  •  STR is home to a variety of wildlife, including the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Gaur, Elephant, Langur, Barking and Spotted Deer, Sloth Bear, Mongoose, Flying Squirrel, Porcupine, Turtle, Monitor Lizard, Python, Sambar, and Pangolin.
  • The region around STR is home to a variety of tribes, including Kolha, Santhala, Bhumija, Bhatudi, Gondas, Khadia, Mankadia, and Sahara.
Other Facts:
  • The STR, along with a ‘transitional area’ of 2250 sq. km, has been included as a part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO in 2009.
  • It is the only landscape in the world that is home to melanistic tigers.

What are Melanistic animals?

  • Melanism is a genetic trait that causes an animal to have an unusually high amount of dark pigmentation, resulting in a black or very dark coloration of their fur, skin, or feathers.
  • Melanistic animals can occur in a variety of species, including big cats, such as tigers and leopards, as well as birds, reptiles, and rodents.
  • In some cases, melanistic animals may have a survival advantage in certain environments, such as in heavily forested areas where their dark coloration can provide better camouflage.

Other Major Protected Areas in Odisha

  • Bhitarkanika National Park
  • Badrama WLS
  • Chilika (Nalaban island) WLS
  • Hadgarh WLS
  • Baisipalli WLS
  • Kotagarh WLS
  • Nandankanan WLS
  • Lakhari Valley WLS
  • Gahirmatha (Marine) WLS

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024