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2 tigresses to be relocated from Ranthambore to Sariska

The Rajasthan Government’s Forest & Environment Department has submitted a proposal to the National Tiger Conservation Authority for relocation of two tigress sisters from Ranthambhore National Park to Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar district in view of the big cats being unable to mark their territories after their mother’s death.

The two two-year-old tigresses were orphaned when their mother, T-5, died after a fight with another tigress in Kachida area of Ranthambhore. The cubs, artificially fed for some time, have strayed near human habitations many times, giving rise to fears that they may come into conflict with humans.

The felines have been named Bina-1 and Bina-2 after State Forest & Environment Minister Bina Kak. It was Ms. Kak who had spotted their injured mother and arranged for her veterinary care. The T-5 tigress succumbed to her injuries in February 2011, despite treatment.

The forest staff took special care of the orphaned cubs for some time and released them into the wild when they became healthy. The tigress sisters, used to the human presence around them, often leave signs of their visit near the human habitations.

“The threat of their conflict with the people living on the edges of the national park is real. Two days ago when I stayed at a place on Ranthambhore Road, I heard tiger roars in the night and found pugmarks on the ground [next] morning,” Ms. Kak told The Hindu here on Thursday.

The Forest Department is planning to relocate three tigers to Sariska under a recovery plan for the tiger habitat, which lost all of its big cats to alleged poaching during 2004-05. Six tigers have been reintroduced in Sariska during the past four years.

The actively breeding big cat population in Ranthambhore is the obvious choice for the wild animal’s transfer. Ms. Kak said the wildlife officials were closely monitoring the movements of male tiger T-24, which has attacked local villagers and forest officials several times. The latest victim was forester Gheesu Singh, who was mauled and dragged into the bushes by T-24 in October.

Ms. Kak said the forest authorities were in a dilemma about T-24, as it is considered to be the father of two cubs, Sultan and Noor, whom it is shielding from the wildlife rigours. “If we take away the tiger, the cubs will be left without protection,” she said.

Another tigress, Sundari – officially named T-17 – seems to have shifted its territory away from Padam Talab and Rajbagh Talab, leaving these areas vacant. The tigress had recently injured her leg in a fight with a male tiger.

The Minister said the increasing tiger population in Ranthambhore had made it imperative to utilise the adjoining Kailadevi National Park by creating a corridor and ensuring smooth movement of the big cats between the two forests. This will provide more space to tigers and help them gain control over their own territories.

“If this plan succeeds, we may not require tiger relocation on a big scale,” said Ms. Kak. The area of Kailadevi, which falls under the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, is at present devoid of tiger population. Ms. Kak has visited three gorges – Kudka Khoh, Nibhera Khoh and Mahal Khoh – in the past and identified these ravines as suitable habitats for tigers and other wild animals.

•There are concerns that the two tigresses may come in conflict with humans

•Movements of a male tiger, which has attacked villagers several times, is being closely monitored

                                                                              The Hindu, Jaipur, 11th January, 2013