DEHRADUN :To safeguard its big cats and herbivores from infection generated through cattle, Rajaji Tiger Reserve (RTR) would begin vaccinating the livestock in over 15 villages adjoining its boundary by next week. Till date, however, no such infection has been reported in the wild animals at RTR. While Corbett Tiger Reserve has already been doing it annually, the RTR administration would be taking up this exercise just before tiger translocation is carried out. “The villagers often leave their aged and sick cattle unclaimed and they enter the forest. Many a times, the big cats attack and feed on them raising chances of infection. So, we will strategically vaccinate all the cattle in the adjoining areas,” RTR director Sanatan Sonkar told Hindustan Times. The reserve, notified in 2015, is yet to notify its ‘tiger management plan’, which includes this annual exercise. The management, however, is going to take up this exercise under The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. According to experts, big cats are most prone to diseases spread by cloven footed animals. Illness such as foot-and-mouth disease or hemorrhagic septicemia that is caused by virus, bacteria, and even protozoans, could spread fast. “Leopards and herbivores that we had examined in and around RTR reported cyst formation. It is difficult to establish whether the cysts developed due to parasitic attack in their system or if they got infected because of the cattle and other species,” Dr Amit Dhyani, veterinarian at Chidiapur rescue centre said. Meanwhile, Corbett hasn’t reported any such disease due to cattle in past. “There hasn’t been any incident in last five years where infection due to cattle was reported. However, we do conduct vaccination drive in over 100 villages surrounding the reserve with the help of The Corbett Foundation, an NGO,” Corbett director Surendra Mehra said. The tiger translocation project of Rajaji is in the final stages and the management would soon start conducting the field work. In this accord, one last permission for the translocation and radio collaring of the big cats would be sought from ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) on December 11 at a meeting in Delhi. As per the plan, three tigers— two females and a male — would be rehabilitated from Corbett landscape to the western part, which is bifurcated from the eastern part by a buzzing corridor. The western part has only two old tigresses that have failed to breed due to lack of males. They also have not been able to cross over to the widely populated eastern part because of the corridor.