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Rescued tigers await rehab in wild (Oct)

The Pioneer, New Delhi, 7th October, 2013

Two sub-adult Royal Bengal Tigers, hand-raised at the Mini Zoo in Roing have been shifted safely to the Biological Park at Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar.

The tigers were ‘rescued’ as young cubs from the Angrim village, located near Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary in December last year, after several reports of poultry lifting. Their mother was believed to have been killed, officials of the Arunachal Forest Department said adding that the cubs were then kept at the Mini Zoo, Roing and looked after by the Forest Department and the veterinarians of the International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India.

“We have shifted the tigers, now sub adults to the Biological Park at Itanagar last week traveling close to 800 kms. Both will be kept at the Biological Park here for a few months and will be rehabilitated in the wild soon,” said Ipra Mekola, Member of the Arunachal Pradesh Wildlife Advisory Board. He said that the IFAW-WTI team assisted the Arunachal Pradesh Forest department and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in the process.

“They (both the tigers) were shifted to Itanagar as they needed more spacious enclosure now,” Mekola said adding that the whole operation of shifting took about 32 hours and included travels by road and boat.

“We had to stop over at several places to check on the health of the tigers. The convoy crossed Assam, with the team stopping at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) in Kaziranga National Park,” he added.

Pekyom Ringu, Deputy Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) of Arunachal Pradesh said that they have already proposed the government to declare the Dibang Willife Sanctuary as one of the greatest Tiger Reserves in Arunachal Pradesh.

It may be mentioned here that recovery of these two tiger cubs last year only confirmed the presence of tiger population in Arunachal Pradesh. Prior to the recovery it was assumed that there is no tiger population in the hilly northeastern State.

“We hope that these two cubs will be rehabilitated soon into the wild. And we also feel that these two tigers should act as the goodwill ambassadors for the proposed Dibang Tiger reserve,” said Sunil Kyarong, Regional Head — Northeast India, IFAW-WTI.

Mekola also said that these tigers are our pride as earlier people did not even believe that Dibang Valley has tigers. “I wish that they will go back to the wild very soon,” Mekola said.