Nainital zoo set to receive tiger cubs next month
Tigers in captivity have successfully bred at Nainital zoo -- a first in Uttarakhand – and cubs are likely to be born next month.
The female tiger – 10-year-old Rani – at Pt GB Pant High Altitude Zoo in Nainital is pregnant after mating with 14-year-old male big cat Betal, and is likely to give birth to young ones in March, zoo officials said.
After confirming the pregnancy through the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly, the zoo administration has started making preparations to receive the cubs. The first task was to separate Betal and Rani.
“We have shifted Betal to a separate enclosure as we don’t want any harm done to the cubs or mother,” said Dharam Singh Meena, divisional forest officer (DFO), Nainital.
Rani’s enclosure has been redesigned as the would-be mother will need more space for the cubs. “We have created more space for Rani who will require it post-delivery,” Meena said.
Rani was rescued from Ramnagar, adjoining Corbett Tiger Reserve, and brought to the zoo seven years ago when the tigress was 3 years old. The management took care of its food, and health through routine medical checkups.
Betal was brought to the zoo in January 2017. It got its name from Betalghat, a block in Nainital district from where it was rescued.
After observing the compatibility of the tigers, the zoo management decided to keep them in one enclosure -- giving them a chance to mate. In a few months’ time, the two successfully mated.
“We are monitoring Rani round the clock. She is absolutely healthy and we are excited to welcome their cubs,” Meena said.
The zoo, situated above 2,020m above sea level, is home to 233 wild animals, including 16 mammals and nine bird species. Royal Bengal Tiger, Himalayan black bear, Markhor (a large species of wild goat native to Pakistan and Afghanistan), red panda and Japanese macaque are among the top attractions.
The zoo management has decided to provide better facilities to tourists. It is planning to launch electronic vehicles for the movement of children and senior citizens inside. State forest minister Harak Singh Rawat had earlier talked about a night safari at the zoo on the lines of Singapore Zoo.