Vijay PinjarkarVijay Pinjarkar, TNN Oct 17, 2011, 05.29AM IST
NAGPUR: Amid debate over proposed release of three rescued tigers in Bor wildlife sanctuary, 60km from Nagpur, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, has submitted a positive report about their release.
After assessing the three tigers - two female and one male - a two-member WII team, consisting of scientist K Ramesh Kumar and veterinarian Dr Parag Nigam, said that the Bor tigers are good candidates for rehabilitation in the wild. The team had visited Bor on October 4. The team submitted the report to A K Saxena, additional principal chief conservator of forests (APCCF), East, Nagpur, four days ago.
The WII team was accompanied by A Ashraf, chief conservator of forests (CCF) & field director, Pench. The members, who were in Bor for over two hours, said that the tigers were in good condition, even better than those released in Panna.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had sent the team only after principal secretary (forest), Maharashtra, Praveen Pardeshi continuously took up the matter before the authorities. This comes after the respective chief wildlife wardens and officials had written a series of letters to the NTCA but failed to elicit any response. This bureaucratic red tapism led to unwarranted delay in deciding the fate of these cubs, which were rescued from Dhaba forest range in Gondpipri in Chandrapur district in September 2009.
"Our first priority is to shift the Bor tigers to a bigger enclosure in Pench. Funds for this have already been sanctioned. Releasing the cubs into the wild doesn't come in our domain. The final decision in this regard will be taken only after consulting NTCA. Entire protocol will be followed," Saxena told TOI.
Wild life experts had claimed that the cubs were 14-months-old when found and hence, are over three years of age now. They look quite grown up. However, the WII team have fixed the age of the cubs at around two-and-half-years.
Initially, the tigers were kept in small cages for treatment in Chandrapur before being shifted to Bor on November 9, 2009, with an aim to rehabilitate them. It has been two years since, but neither serious efforts nor right steps were taken to see that the tigers were relocated successfully. The team also stressed the need for giving live feed to the tigers, which is not being made available.
NTCA joint director S P Yadav told TOI that the matter is under consideration and a committee has been constituted to examine the issues related to orphaned cubs in India, which will decide the fate of such cubs.
Pardeshi said, "WII and NTCA have been asked to give permission for the rehabilitation and only under their guidance, we will release the tigers into the wild."