Twin tigers relocation within a fortnight
7 Feb 2009, 0018 hrs IST, Anindo Dey, TNN
JAIPUR: Finally there seems to be some light where relocation of tigers from Ranthambore tiger sanctuary to the Sariska tiger reserve is concerned. Having received positive signals from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in Delhi, state forest officials are hopeful of relocating the tiger within a fortnight. And this time it might just be the simultaneous relocation of not one but two tigers.
The relocation of tigers from Ranthambore had been in the waiting for quite sometime after NTCA had put a rider on relocation of only `transient' tigers. This rider prevented the state forest officials from tranquillizing resident tigers, those tigers that have earmarked their territory in the Ranthambore national park.
However, now NTCA has not only relaxed the norms but the problem of a suitable radio collar that was plaguing the relocation bid also seems to have come to an end. All relocated tigers to Sariska are being fitted with a radio collar so as to keep a proper check on their movement once inside the reserve and prevent possibilities of any poaching.
"Initially we were contemplating fitting specially procured radio collars for the relocated tigers. In these radio collars the antenna was to be fitted at a different angle so that they do not fall off, as had been the case with the radio collars that were fitted to the two relocated tigers," revealed sources in the state forest department.
"But these radio collars are manufactured only in Canada and we have been facing some hurdles. Therefore, we have now decided that even if we have to fit the tigers with the normal radio collar, we will do it so that we complete the relocation," he added.
The relocation of tigers to Sariska is an effort by NTCA, the Wild Life Institute of India (WII) and state forest officials to help re-establish the tiger populace at the forest. So far one tigress and a tiger have been relocated.
"This time relocation would be different in the sense that so far at a given day we had shifted only one big cat but since we are way beyond the target we have decided to shift two tigers simultaneously in helicopters provided by the India Air Force," said the official.
The optimism of the officials stems from the fact that as opposed to December last year when the tigers were mainly hiding behind bushes, this time, they claim, the tigers are coming out of the bushes. But till the die is cast forest officials are keeping their fingers crossed. "One can never be sure with wild animals, specially after our failed efforts last time. But we are optimistic," he said.