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Chhattisgarh’s tiger reserves fail but its mini-zoos do well to augment big cat population

The ‘Kanan-Pendari’, a zoological park in Chhattisgarh, presently has four tigers and six lions as surplus and has proposed to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to shift them to other zoos.

Published: 22nd December 2019 04:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd December 2019 04:41 PM   |  A+A-

Tigers

For representational purposes (File Photo | AP)

Express News Service

RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh, where the worst-ever decline of 59 per cent in tiger population was recorded in its reserves since 2014, some risky but cautious decisions by a mini-zoo authority in Bilaspur district led to an impressive increase in the strength of big cats lodged in its confinement.

The ‘Kanan-Pendari’, a zoological park in Chhattisgarh, presently has four tigers and six lions as surplus and has proposed to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to shift them to other zoos.

Usually, the zoos in the country avoid breeding among the tigers or the lions owing to the apprehension on the mating often turn dangerous and might lead to tragic outcome in the sheltered captivity, the officials in the state forest department told TNIE.

But ‘Kanan-Pendari’ decided to carry out the practice nevertheless while evaluating the potential risks on mating behaviour and even attempted paring of tigers or lions. And the results were quite encouraging.

“We took the risk followed by our guarded observations of the behavioural signs and intimations among the animals. Felt delighted since no zoo has achieved such impressive track-record so far. Today we have four tigers and six lions as surplus and are to be shifted,” said V K Chourasia, the superintendent of the Kanan-Pendari zoo. The mini-zoo, which has the capacity to keep 6 tigers and lions each, had earlier also exchanged both with few major zoos of the nation.

Ironically the tiger population added to numbers in mini-zoo in the state where the performance has been miserable on the conservation management of big cats in its 3 tiger reserves. From 46 tigers in 2014 the figure strikingly came down to 19 in 2018, as per the latest census.

“Being very delicate issue, usually the risk on breeding of big cat population and lion is avoided in a zoo since the mating is furious and may also lead to casualty. We took the chance some 3-4 years back and got success. Gradually, with more experiences we further improved the situation,” the officer added.

Under the CZA guidelines, there remains a provision of exchange of surplus animals from one zoo to another.

“So far we have got demands of both the tigers and lions from Rohtak (Haryana), Ludhiana (Punjab), Vishakhapatnam, Bhopal and others” Chourasia informed.

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