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Sariska readies for royal romance

With the safe release of a four-year-old Ranthambhore tigress, popularly known as the Lakrda female, in the second enclosure at Naya Pani at the stroke of noon on Friday, Sariska's first couple is now in place, reports Jay Mazoomdaar.
Hindustan Times | By Jay Mazoomdaar, Sariska
UPDATED ON JUL 05, 2008 02:22 AM IST

With the safe release of a 170-kg, four-year-old Ranthambhore tigress popularly known as the Lakrda female in the second enclosure at Naya Pani at the stroke of noon on Friday, Sariska's first couple is now in place.

The tigress was sedated at 7 am and waited till 11.15 when the chopper took off from Ranthambhore. She appeared in good health when she was released around noon in Sariska. V.P. Singh, the chief of Rajasthan’s tiger task force, said the forest department would try to fly in another tigress before the monsoon sets in.

Meanwhile, presumably waiting for a partner, the T10 male rather unimaginatively identified after his position in Ranthambhore’s tiger index has already made two kills since his arrival at Sariska. With forest officers wary that any more goat may spoil his prey preference permanently, he is all set to walk free later tonight or tomorrow.

With a prayer that he doesn't stray outside the forest, a team of scientists from Wildlife Institute of India will track his movements round-the-clock.

However, the two big cats will have to wait before they can check each other out in the wild. Like the T10 male introduced on June 28, the tigress will spend a few days inside her enclosure before she is freed.

Once the Lakrda female is let out, Sariska will hold its breadth for the royal courtship to begin. Cats mate easily but occasionally certain pairs act stubborn. In this case, the T10 male being a rather young tiger, forest officials feel he may need a bit of mentoring.

But the Lakrda female so named after her territory in Lakrda is a tigress of rare pedigree. She is one of the many daughters of the venerable Lady of the Lake (again named after her territory) alias Machhli (fish mark on her skin), the tigress famous for successfully raising four litters. No doubt the forest officials can trust the Lakrda female to take effective early initiatives to repopulate Sariska.

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