NTCA to reintroduce tigers in 3 reserves

NTCA to reintroduce tigers in 3 reserves

NTCA to reintroduce tigers in 3 reserves

The National Tiger Conservation Authority will reintroduce tigers in three tiger reserves, where the number of the big cats has dwindled to the minimum.

Tiger restocking will happen at the Satkosia forest in Odisha, the western part of Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand and Buxa in West Bengal.

For Satkosia reintroduction, the Madhya Pradesh government has given in-principle approval to take out three pairs of breeding tigers from Panna, said Debabrata Swain, member secretary NTCA.

The picturesque Odisha tiger reserve is left with only two predators, both of which are more than 13 years old and beyond their reproductive age, said Siddhanta Das, director general of forest in the ministry of environment and forest.

For the reintroduction, people from two villages were moved out of the core area of the forest, located at a place where the Mahanadi river passes through a 22 km-long gorge in the Eastern Ghats mountains.

The striped animals would also be brought in the western part of the Rajaji either from the eastern part of the jungle or from the Corbett.

For Buxa, located in the northern part of West Bengal, a prey augmentation programme is going on.

Once the prey base is enhanced, tigers would be brought in from Kaziranga.

NTCA plans tiger reintroduction at three sites because of its experience in Sariska and Panna.

"In Sariska, tigers were reintroduced in 2005-06 and now there are 14 tigers. Similarly in Panna, the animals were brought in from outside in 2008 and there are 41 tigers in Panna now," Swain told DH.

There are other tiger reserves like Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, Indravati in Chhattishgarh and Palamu in Jharkhand as well as national parks like Guru Ghasidas National Park in Chhattishgarh and Kailadevi National Park in Rajasthan where the striped cat could be brought in from outside, said Y V Jhala, a senior scientist at the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

With India accounting for nearly 70% of close to 4,000 worldwide population of tigers, Indian authorities are exploring new avenues to raise the number of the big cats.

The government has undertaken India's biggest tiger counting exercise that will conclude in 2019.

Experts from Myanmar are being trained to carry out a similar tiger estimation exercise in neighbouring nation.

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