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Rescued conflict tiger survives 1000 days in the wild

Eastern Chronicle, New Delhi, 2nd April, 2013

Manas (Bodoland), April 1, 2013: An adult male tiger rescued from conflict in Sivasagar district, was recently sighted in the wild in Greater Manas, confirming its survival more than 1000 days since its release here by the Forest Department assisted by International Fund for Animal Welfare – Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI). The tiger was caught from Geleki in March 2010, following encounters with people that led to the death of two.

“In cases of human-tiger conflicts in India, ‘capture’ is generally the beginning and not the end of the story,” said Vivek Menon, Executive Director, WTI and Regional Director – South Asia, IFAW.

“With tiger population estimated to less than 2000 in the country, we cannot afford to be losing individuals to captivity unnecessarily. But then, we cannot also afford to risk human lives, by hastily releasing a ‘potential-trouble’ individual, losing crucial public support for the entire species. It’s a predicament that requires careful consideration of possibilities, based on clear understanding of the animal’s behavior,” he added.

Analysing the situation in this case, the authorities found the attacks on people to be purely accidental, and decided to release it. With efforts on for the revival of Manas, the Bodoland Territorial Council authorities granted permission for its release in Greater Manas region. Accordingly on April 1 that year, the tiger was radio-collared released in Manas.

The tiger was recently photographed in the camera traps set for tiger monitoring in Manas, around 1095 days since it was released.

“The new photograph showed that the tiger’s collar has dropped off. With the amount of time it has spent without reports of conflict involving it, we can now be satisfied that this tiger has established itself here. Its reproductive success in Manas will contribute to tiger conservation in this (Manas-Bhutan) landscape,” said Dr Bhaskar Choudhury, Regional Head – Northeast, WTI.

“This couldn’t have been possible without the bold and important decision taken by the forest department authority including Suersh Chand, Chief Wildlife Warden- Assam and Anindya Swargiary, Field Director-Manas Tiger Reserve, which is truly commendable. This success has shown that conflict animals can be rehabilitated successfully with meticulous planning and scientific monitoring,” he added.

Since its release, this is the second indirect sighting of the tiger. It was first photographed in February 2011; it was with its collar then.