Plan to relocate tigresses to Palamu reserve

Ahead of the move, the PTR is ensuring a prey-base for the big cats. PTR Director Kumar Ashutosh said all preparations are in place.
Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only. File photo | PTI

RANCHI: To retain the four tigers which have migrated to Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR), efforts are underway to relocate at least two tigresses and one tiger from another reserve.

Ahead of the move, the PTR is ensuring a prey-base for the big cats. PTR Director Kumar Ashutosh said all preparations are in place. Only the approval of the National Zoo Authority is awaited for shifting 350 animals to the Soft Release Centers (SRC) set up in the reserve.

Notably, the forest officials have set up four SRCs to ensure enough food for tigers, which will help them breed in the reserve. In these centres, animals are placed in pre-release cages placed close to the location where they will be released.

Each soft release centres at Baresadh, Lukaiya, Mundu and Dhardharia are spread over 10 hectares, which will provide an amicable atmosphere for the breeding of cheetals, which the tigers will prey on. “We have already obtained permission from National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for shifting the cheetals, sambhars and deer and expect to get the same from National Zoo Authority soon. As soon as the animals are moved to SRCs, we will relocate at least two tigresses and one tiger with NTCA’s permission,” the Director said.

As many as 200 cheetals from Betla National Park will be shifted to three different STCs, while another lot of 300 cheetals and sambhar will be brought from Bhagwan Birsa Biologial Park (Birsa Zoo) in Ranchi for the remaining SRCs. As of now, there are four SRCs in PTR, while two more are being prepared, he said.

Besides, several check dams have also been constructed to provide drinking water for the animals, he said. “Two portable water sprinklers which can sprinkle water within a radius of 50 meters, to retain the greenery at the grasslands in PTR has been installed,” said Kumar Ashutosh.

Solar water pumps, used for retain water level in the water bodies, has also been increased from 16 to 37 to retain water in the water bodies throughout the year in PTR, he added.

Notably, according to the report on the status of tigers in India, released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019, there were no tigers in PTR. Spread over an area of about 1,230 sq km, it was made a tiger reserve in 1973 and had a good number of the animals, which came down to three in the 2014 census and zero in the latest report.

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