Uttarakhand: First tiger to be flown to Rajaji from Corbett Tiger Reserve this week
After four years, as part of a translocation project, the first tiger will be moved from the Corbett Tiger Reserve to the Rajaji Tiger Reserve this week, forestry officials said.
JS Suhag, Wildlife Director of the Uttarakhand Forest Department, said: “All preparations for the translocation process have been made in both Corbett and Rajaji. A team will leave for Corbett on Thursday, and we are hopeful that by the end of this week, the first tiger will be reassured and transferred. ”
The tiger transfer project to the western part of Rajaji was approved by the Center in 2016.
Suhag added that the tiger will be brought to the western part of Rajaji, where it will first be radio-collared and its health monitored before a gentle release.
Last September, a team from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had visited Rajaji to conduct a reconnaissance for the translocation exercise and had suggested a gentle release of a pair of tigers on the western side of the reserve. In a soft release, the tigers are released into a large enclosed area where they are kept for a few days to check for disease before being released into the wild.
A total of five tigers, three males and two females, will be transferred to Rajaji.
Rahul, Field Director of the Corbett Tiger Reserve, who only uses his first name, said: “Tigers of different age groups have been identified for movement from the buffer areas (Western Terai Forest Division) of the reserve. Some tigers are between three and four years old, while others are between six and eight years old. Different tigers have been identified to make the capture process easier ”.
In October, to better protect and prepare the villagers before relocating tigers to the Rajaji Tiger Reserve, the park administration had begun work on the formation of 40 surveillance and protection teams in the villages bordering the reservation.
At present, the Rajaji Tiger Reserve has around 37 tigers with only two tigers in its western part, which is spread over 570 square kilometers. The reserve has a carrying capacity of 83 tigers, a recent survey by the state forest department revealed.
“We are working to improve the tiger population in the Rajaji Tiger Reserve, with the transfer process being the first step. In the western part of the reserve, we are also identifying other methods such as improving the habitat, increasing the prey base to increase the number of tigers in the future, ”Suhag added.
The eastern and western parts of the reserve are divided by a busy traffic corridor that makes it difficult for tigers to migrate between the two parts.