Dehradun: Forty camera traps will be installed at Shayampur range of Haridwar forest division to help the wildlife department monitor and choose a tiger, as part of a project to boost the big cat population in Rajaji reserve.
Officers said two tigers are ‘probables’ for the translocation project.
The selected tiger will be translocated to western part of Rajaji which is home to two tigresses. These tigresses are closely monitored by 12 cameras. The western part is separated from eastern side by a narrow corridor which hinders movement of tigers. The eastern part has nearly 13 tigers that are breeding but there in no such report from the western part.
In its first move under the project, the reserve has started installing camera traps to identify and monitor tigers. Shyampur is a part of Corbett landscape. “The first few tigers can come from areas adjoining Rajaji. So, we have put up cameras to track the movement of two tigers that seem promising,” Rajaji director Sanatan Sonkar tells Hindustan Times.
Uttarakhand had 340 tigers as per the All India Tiger Estimation 2014. “We don’t want to pick up resident tigers that have claimed territory and are sub-adults. That will create pressure on individuals and may put the project at risk. For translocation, adult tigers that are straying out will be considered. That’s why Corbett landscape is best,” he says.
A resident tiger is not ideal as it will re-claim wider territory in translocated area, pushing others out. This will pose threat to the project that aims to translocate 10 tigers in 10 years in the western part spread over an area of 570 sq km. Stray tigers are the best option as they can easily adapt to new home without causing much resistance.
Bivash Pandav, a scientist with Wildlife Institute of India, says tigers from Corbett and its adjoining areas sustain the big cat population in nearby areas. “Because of this, Corbett landscape is ideal for this project,” he says.
Sources in the department say some key areas adjoining Corbett, particularly Ramnagar, Lansdowne and Terai belt, will also be considered for identifying tigers for the project.
What’s needed is careful and scientific monitoring of the area, identifying the stray tiger, its capture and translocation. Sonkar says tigers will be released in big enclosures to ensure they adapt to the new environment and thereafter, left free. Each translocated tiger will be fitted with a radio collar for surveillance.