Forget Corbett, Rajaji National Park is the new hub for tigers in Uttarakhand. But, the skewed sex ratio has forced the state government to consider translocation of a male tiger.
The Wildlife Institute of India and state forest department has got pictures of over 13 tigers in the national park known for its huge population of elephants.
Rajaji park named after freedom fighter C Rajagopalachari is on the banks of river Ganga to the east of Haridwar and is a unique hilly grassland on the foothills of Shivalik range. Its grassland helps better spotting of tigers than in Corbett which is mostly mountainous with dense forest cover.
The increasing tiger population in the national park has posed a new problem for the state forest department – skewed sex ratio in Motichur forest range. Of the 13 tigers, only three are male and rest are female. "There are three tigresses in Motichur forest range and no male tiger," said Anil Baluni, a functionary of the state forest advisory council.
The Uttarakhand state forest department is now planning to relocate a tiger -- either from Rajaji itself or from Corbett Tiger Reserve -- to Motichur.
Normally, tiger are relocated to reserves such as Sariska in Rajasthan and Panna in Madhya Pradesh, which has lost all its tigers. Translocation of a male tiger just for breeding is rare.
"We don’t want Panna like experience where female tigresses vanished in absence of a male tiger. If the male tiger would have been translocated in Panna there was a possibility of reviving the tiger population," an official said.
The over cautious forest department officials will soon be seeking help of WII to seek permission of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to translocate a male tiger to Motichur. Once the permission comes, a suitable tiger will be identified and process for relocation will begin. "It would take a few months," an official said.
Local conservationists, however, claim that increasing human pressure on Rajaji may pose a threat to tigers and urged the state government to take corrective action.