Two hand-reared tigress from Madhya Pradesh's Kanha tiger reserve would soon be shifted to adjacent Panna sanctuary to give company to three translocated big cats there, the first such experiment in the country.
"The two orphaned siblings have been hand-raised since 2005 when their mother was mauled to death by a male tiger and are likely to be translocated this month-end," sanctuary's field director S Murthy told PTI.
The Panna sanctuary has presently three tigers -- a male from Pench national park and two females from Kanha and Bandhavgarh --shifted last year as part of the government's programme to repopulate the species there after it lost all of them to poachers. In May, a tigress gave birth to four cubs, the first by any translocated tigress in the country.
Of the four, only two cubs have survived while the others are feared dead. With two more tigresses, the sanctuary will have a total of five big cats-- one male and four females.
In all, the Madhya Pradesh government has secured permission for translocation of six big cats — four females and two male — to Panna.
Murthy says predators being entirely solitary animal exhibit unique behaviour.
"And it would be interesting to watch how the five big cats including the mother tigress with its two cubs bond with each other since all of them are from virtually different background and habitat." It would be for the first time that a semi-wild tigresses, to be monitored constantly through radio-collar, will be released in the wild.
"They are already acclimatised with the wild habitat and we don't think they would have any problem once they are on their own," said Murthy, who has been tracing the behaviour of all the big cats since they were first introduced in Panna.
Speaking about the prized inhabitants, he said a tigress picked from the buffer of Kanha sanctuary avoids human presence. "Her visibility has been very less. I have not been able to sight her much. On the contrary, the one from Bandhavgarh which gave birth to four cubs in May can be seen frequently as she has been used to human presence in her original home."