Monday, March 06, 2006

On the trail of the elusive tiger

March 06 2006 at 02:14AM 


Dhaka - Bangladesh wildlife experts have fitted a radio collar on a second Royal Bengal tiger living in a dense coastal mangrove forest to learn more about the habits of the elusive cats, officials said on Sunday.


The tiger, called the Queen of Shaplakhali, was the second to be fitted with a radio collar after the first - the 12-year-old Queen of Jamtala - died suddenly, leaving the task of learning about more about the critically endangered species unfinished.


Tagging the eight-year-old Queen of Shaplakhali would help experts learn more about the animals' sexual habits and prey targets, chief forest officer of the Sunderbans, Shaikh Mijanur Rahman, told reporters.


"The Queen of Jamtala died five months after being fitted with a radio collar. It left us some data to analyse but it was not enough. Besides, it was a very old tigress," Rahman said.


Little is known about the habits of an estimated 668 Royal Bengal tigers living in the Sunderbans, the world's largest mangrove forest and a United Nations heritage site that stretches along the eastern coast of South Asia.


Adam Barlow, an expert in wildlife studies from the University of Minnesota, is leading the radio collar study team with funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.


Through a satellite antenna and a computer programme, the team will observe the tiger's whereabouts for seven months before it is tranquillised again to remove the sensor for further study.


Authorities say the big cats are on the brink of extinction worldwide because of poachers who kill tigers for their pelts and bones which are used in traditional medicine.


Experts have estimated only 5 000 to 6 000 Royal Bengal tigers are left in the world, down from about 100 000 in 1900. - Sapa-AFP


For the cats,


Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

an Educational Sanctuary home

to more than 100 big cats

12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

Sign our petition here:


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