Four decades after the death of the first white tiger that was bred in a private zoo at Govindgarh in Rewa district, union minister for environment and forests Prakash Javdekar inaugurated a white tiger safari at Mukundpur in Satna district.
The safari, touted as the first of its kind in the world, has a white tigress named Princess Vindhya who was brought to the place on November 9, 2015 from Bhilai Steel Plant premises. The foundation stone of the White Tiger Safari, Zoo and Rescue Centre was laid on February 3, 2012 by then forest minister and now PWD minister Sartaj Singh.
Vindhya region in particular and Madhya Pradesh in general has special attachment with white tigers given the fact the first white tiger of the world Mohan was sighted in Vindhya region only by the then Rewa Maharaja Martand Singh in jungles of Sidhi in the year 1951 during a hunt. The cub was named Mohan and was then 9-month-old. He was kept in an enclosure in Govindgarh fort later.
Addressing a gathering at a function organized to mark the occasion Javadekar said around 75% of tigers in the world which stood at about 2500 lived in India alone
Expressing concern over tigers forced to coming out of their habitat he said, “We will work on augmentation of water and prey base for tigers.”
He said India had achieved expertise in management of tigers. Representatives of 12 countries which had tigers would meet in India soon.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the safari would restore the glory of Vindhya region and it would generate employment avenues through tourism. The airstrip at Rewa would be upgraded as an airport.
He said the state government would make efforts to upgrade the safari at Rewa as a world class safari.
All the leaders including Javadekar, Chouhan and Tomar gave the credit for creation of the safari to public relations minister Rajendra Shukla who belongs to the region and who mooted the idea for the white tiger safari in the region which was once world known for the world’s first white tiger here.
As per officials, white tigers were in Govindgarh, Rewa from 1951 to 1976. There was no white tiger later. After unsuccessful attempts of breeding in the private enclosure for several years it was on October 30, 1958 when 4 cubs were born to Mohan and Radha. Later, 30 more cubs were born during the lifetime of Mohan out of which 21 were white coloured. It is said today all the white tigers in the world have lineage to Mohan.