Translocation nod only after security of big cats assured in Rajaji: NTCA
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Translocation nod only after security of big cats assured in Rajaji: NTCA

The National Tiger Conservation Authority will not allow tiger translocation in Rajaji Tiger Reserve unless the reserve management ensures safety of the big cats, a top official said on Wednesday

dehradun Updated: May 23, 2018 21:39 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times
NTCA deputy director Nishant Verma visited the reserve on May 21 & 22 to assess the possibility of project.(HT File Photo)

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) will not allow tiger translocation in Rajaji Tiger Reserve unless the reserve management ensures safety of the big cats, a top official said on Wednesday.

In the light of a leopard poaching incident reported in April from Motichur range of the reserve, NTCA head Anup Kumar Nayak made it clear that no permission will be granted unless the reserve and the state government ensures safe haven for the big cats.

“We have given in principle approval for the project and won’t give written permission unless the forest department ensures safety of the big cats,” Nayak said on Wednesday.

NTCA deputy director Nishant Verma visited the reserve on May 21 and 22 to assess the possibility of project.

During the visit, Verma reviewed prey base estimation, monitoring preparations and other factors. But, on the poaching incident, he was told the matter was sub judice.

“I am told that the several investigations are going on in this case and the matter is also in the court. Unless we receive the investigation report, we can’t comment about it,” Verma said.

Activists have been raising concern over the future of the project. The spot where leopard skin seizure was done is close to the spot identified for translocation. Under such circumstances, the activists are concerned over safety of all animals, especially tigers.

“The NTCA should immediately stop this project. When an animal can be killed in the area where tigers will be relocated, then the relocated tigers could also be killed some day. It should be stopped before the failure of the project becomes an embarrassment for the government,” said Rajeev Mehta, a wildlife activist.

Verma, during his visit, also interacted with the Haridwar division forest officer (DFO) asking to list stray tigers which could be introduced in the reserve.

“There are two or three tigers which are straying near the Pili River, a tributary of Ganga in Haridwar division. We might consider those tigers for translocation in initial phase,” Verma said.

Tiger translocation is proposed in the western part of the reserve that spreads across 570 sqkm and has two female tigers.

This part is divided with eastern part (150 sqkm) with a narrow buzzing corridor due to which the tiger movement is blocked. The eastern part has reported breeding and in last survey recorded over 30 tigers.

First Published: May 23, 2018 21:39 IST