BHOPAL: White tigers may soon make a comeback to their place of "origin" in Madhya Pradesh, with the state government requesting the Centre's nod for transfer of these felines from Chhattisgarh to Satna District for what it claims will be the world's first 'White Tiger Safari' .
The big cats are to be moved to Mukundpur Zoo and Rescue Centre in Satna district of Rewa division from a similar facility in Bhilai Steel Plant complex in Chhattisgarh. Madhya Pradesh Public Relations Minister Rajendra Shukla said he has requested Union Minister for Steel Narendra Singh Tomar to approve the transfer of the white tigers.
"If all goes as per the plan, the white tigers would roar again in the area after nearly 40 years once the safari begins," Shukla told PTI today. "I requested Tomar yesterday in Delhi to give consent and cooperate in making available pairs of white tiger, Royal Bengal tiger and leopard from Bhilai Steel Plant zoo to Mukundpur zoo situated in Satna district of Rewa division," he added. Shukla said he informed the Union Minister that the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and Supreme Court have already given their permission to Mukundpur zoo for transfer of these animals.
As per the permission, enclosures for white tiger, lion, panther and sloth bear have been constructed in Mukundpur Zoo and Rescue Centre, Shukla informed the Union Minister. "All plans are ready to start the world's first White
Tiger Safari at Mukundpur, where the first white tiger was spotted in 1951 by erstwhile ruler Maharaja Martand Singh and was later named Mohan," Shukla said.
The white tiger was caught by Martand Singh on May 27, 1951 from Sidhi district's Bargadi forest area and later the animal was brought to Govindarh Palace in Rewa, from where it escaped the very next day. It was again found in Mukundpur area about 26-27 kms away from Rewa. "Mohan then remained in the area for over two decades and its progenies spread gradually to other parts of the world," Shukla said.
Though its progenies made their home in different parts of the world and zoos, they were found in their place of origin till 1976 only, he said. The zoological park already existing in Mukundpur will now be known as 'Mukundpur Zoo and Mohan White Tiger Safari', while the breeding centre will be named after Maharaja Martand Singh, Shukla said.
Madhya Pradesh's 'Madhyam', which fulfils communication needs of the state government, will also exhibit the entire history of white tigers at the Safari to apprise the visitors about its origin and how it was first found in the forest area near here by then Maharaja Martand Singh. Quoting historians, Shukla informed that Mohan and another female white tigress Radha had many offsprings which multiplied and a total of 114 white tigers were found on earth at one time in different sanctuaries and zoos across the world.
Mohan's last progeny, Virat, mated with Sukethi. But Virat died on February 2, 1976, following which Sukethi was shifted to Delhi. The plan to bring white tigers back to their origin was formulated when Shukla was the Forest Minister of the state in 2008 and later it was sent to the Centre for approval.
The proposal was approved on July 5, 2010 by Union Ministry of Environment and Forest and the Central Zoo Authority, New Delhi gave its nod to the layout plan three years later.