Dehradun, June 26 (HS). In a move to boost the tigers population at Uttarakhand’s Rajaji Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand government is seriously considering to translocate young tigers from one of India’s oldest Corbett Tiger Reserves at Ramnagar, into this newly developed Haridwar based Tiger Reserve in October this year.
This will be the first tiger translocation from Uttarakhand CTR to Rajaji Tiger Reserve ever since later came into existence to help conserve tigers.
Senior forest officials at Rajaji Tiger Reserve, told India’ premier largest multilingual news agency Hindustan Samachar that initially, five tigers including two young males and three females, will be shifted in a phased manner to Rajaji’s western part in the October first week, as it has not reported any breeding of the animals in about a decade, ever since it came into being about 14 years ago.
Rajaji Tiger Reserve (CTR) that is spread across Haridwar, Dehradun and Pauri districts, was officially upgraded from Rajaji National Park to Rajaji Tiger Reserve after six tigers were spotted there. On the other side, being one of the oldest Tiger Reserves in India, CTR’s population is around 260.
“Tigers must have been caught from human habitation areas and released into the wild. But systematic translocation via the soft and hard release in a bid to increase their population in a certain landscape is happening for the first time in the state,” said Verma. AG Ansari, a wildlife expert, agreed with Verma.
“Translocation of tigers has never taken place in Uttarakhand. However, when the state was still a part of UP, gharials, in the 1970s, were reintroduced from Lucknow’s Kukrail breeding centre,” said Ansari.
The director said, “The Central government has released Rs 40 lakh for translocation-related activities such as procuring appropriate cages, identification process of tigers, etc. The translocation process is likely to be carried out in the first week of October.”
The identification process of the five tigers that are tipped to be translocated would begin soon. Intensive camera trapping exercise would be carried out in certain ranges of Corbett to identify the tigers that would be transported in a phased manner. Veterinarians would tranquillise the shortlisted tigers before they are translocated, he added.
Rajaji has 34 resident tigers, including 32 in its eastern part, which is spread across 150 square (sq) kilometres (km) and two tigresses in the western part that covers 570 sq km. Last September, a team from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had visited Rajaji to conduct reconnaissance for the translocation exercise and had suggested a soft release of a pair of tigers in the reserve’s western side.
“Both the soft and hard release can be done, because of the dense vegetation in the reserve’s western part. But the soft release is preferred, as the animals can undergo check-ups for any disease before they are set free in the wild,” Anup Nayak, member-secretary, NTCA, had said after the recce.
A busy traffic corridor divides the eastern and the western part of the reserve and acts as a stumbling block for tigers’ free movement.