Sariska to get two more tigers in July

JAIPUR: The roar of the tiger is all set to get louder at Sariska Tiger Reserve with the Centre finally approving relocation of two more tigers from Ranthambore National Park. The relocation of the big cats — one male and a female — is likely to take place on July 4.

According to forest officials, though the tentative dates for the relocation has been fixed for July 4, attempts for the same will begin from July 1 itself.

Sariska, as of now, has two female and a male tiger which were airlifted from Ranthambore between July 2008 and early 2009. However, further relocation attempts were put on hold after a few wildlife experts expressed fears that relocating the big cats without testing the genes to see if they belong to the same family might prove disastrous.

“An expert team comprising Aparajita Dutta from the National Wildlife Conservation Trust and AJT John Singh, former professor of the Wildlife Trust of India, has been camping at Ranthambore since long. In fact, it is in response to a letter written by Dutta on the rising pressure in Ranthambore due to the increasing population of big cats that the Centre has finally agreed to relocate transient tigers from there to Sariska,” said Ram Lal Jat, forest minister.

Officials of the state forest department said that DNA testing will continue alongside with relocation as it takes a lot of time. “The scats have been collected and sent for DNA testing. In this relocation, our prime objective would be to shift the two tigers which have strayed out of Ranthambore to Kota and Kailadevi. But in case we fail to locate them on that day, we will shift other identified tigers,” said an official.

Two tigers — a female, T-37 and a male, T-47 — had strayed away from the Ranthambore reserve earlier this year and have refused to come back so far. Forest officials have been maintaining a watch on them and trying to bring them back to the reserve. .

“We will try to shift distant animals so as not to affect the gene pool but even if the relocated animals are related in any way, we will try to correct it by relocating tigers from some other zone sometime later. There is, however, no question of incompatibility as the tigers from Ranthambore to be relocated are healthy,” he said. So far, nearly 10 tigers have been identified in the Ranthambore reserve for relocation, of which two will be chosen on that day.

Meanwhile, permissions like that for the use of a helicopter for airlifting the tiger have already been taken and researchers from Wildlife Institute of India and state forest department are camping in Sariska, keeping a track of identified tigers.

From TOI

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