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Tiger shifted to Sariska reserve in Rajasthan

Published on Oct 16, 2022 11:56 PM IST

The much-awaited relocation of a tiger from the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve to the Sariska Tiger Reserve took place on Sunday aimed at increasing the tiger population in Sariska.

The shifting came at a time when the majority of the male and female tigers in Sariska have aged (HT file)
By, Jaipur

The much-awaited relocation of a tiger from the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve (RTR) to the Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR) took place on Sunday aimed at increasing the tiger population in Sariska. The tiger, dubbed T-113, was tranquilised and shifted to STR, taking the tally of big cat population in the reserve to 25.

The shifting came at a time when the majority of the male and female tigers in Sariska have aged. The STR had witnessed country’s first tiger reintroduction programme in 2008. Currently, there are 24 tigers in the reserve, which include 10 females, seven males and seven cubs.

“The shifting was done after seeking permission from the National Conservation Tiger Authority (NTCA),” said SR Yadav, chief conservator of forests, Ranthambore.

The five-year-old tiger was tranquilised in the Talada range and shifted to STR, a forest official said, seeking anonymity. A team from STR was camping in Ranthambore for the last 2-3 days. However, the task was challenging as there were incessant rains last week in RTR.

“It was difficult to trace the tiger as it disappeared in thick forest. On Sunday, after a long chase, it was tranquilised around 4.30pm. After the medical examination, it was taken to Sariska by road,” the official said.

Three tigresses, ST-10, ST-12 and ST-22, are moving in the northern part of STR, but have no male tiger with them, people familiar with the development said. Tigresses such as ST-3 and ST-5, relocated from Ranthambore, have never birthed cubs, they said.

“The tiger, which will be brought from RTR, will be relocated in this region. Forest administration has recently constructed a new enclosure at Panidhal,” the official said.

“There are 10 females in STR, but of them 50% have aged, and the situation is similar with male tigers. Looking at the situation, it is important that at least a male and two female tigers be relocated here, which are breeding,” said STR field director RN Meena. “A request was made to the chief wildlife warden, and likewise a proposal has been sent to NTCA. The big cats are necessary to help STR grow.”

Welcoming the forest department’s move, founder secretary of Sariska Tiger Foundation, Dinesh Verma, said: “It is a long-awaited move. After four years, a big cat has been shifted to STR. To maintain the population in Sariska, a shifting male and female tigers was being made for long.”

There have been several attempts to relocate tigers to Sariska, and a total of nine tigers have been relocated from RTR, excluding the latest, he said. The tigresses ST-3 and ST-5, both dead, could not deliver any cubs. The tigresses ST-7 and ST-8 could be facing the same fate as they are now around 10 years old and have not yet delivered any litters.

“We believe that one of the potential causes, along with the stress caused due to disturbance by villages inside the jungle, could be inbreeding. Many states such as Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh with high tiger populations are willing to participate in the exchange of tigers to diversify the gene pool of the species, which will directly result in improving the chances of survival and production of offspring,” he said.

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