COIMBATORE: Tiger cub ANM T56 (Anamalai Tiger 56), which is 12-15 months old, was shifted to an open enclosure at Manthirimattam in Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) near Valparai on Sunday morning. The animal was rescued on September 28 last year and was being kept in a spacious cage at Manombolly forest range guest house.
This is the first time in TN that a rescued animal has been shifted to a nature-based enclosure. Spread over 10,000 square feet with a den and water pond, the enclosure was developed at Rs 75 lakh, as per the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines for rehabilitating the tiger to the wild. The enclosure is also covered with green cloth. The cub is exploring its new enclosure now.
The cub was eight months old when it was rescued from Mudis Estate near Valparai on. Its mother couldn’t be found.A team of doctors, including E Vijaya Raghavan of ATR, K Sridhar of Arignar Anna Zoological Park, and Manoharan of KMTR, took its samples and biometric measurements before its release into the enclosure. Chief Wildlife Warden Abbas gave permission based on a recommendation from an eight-member committee comprising representatives from the Wildlife Institute of India and NGOs.
Four staff are monitoring the movement of the big cat and six single-side CCTV cameras and one 360 degree camera have been installed to monitor its activities round the clock. Conservator of Forests Coimbatore and ATR Field Director S Ramasubramanian said they would train the cub for its life in the wild. “...We will soon place live chicken and rabbits inside the enclosure to allow the animal hunt.” The cub’s weight increased by over 60 kg in the last eight months.
Deputy director of ATR MG Ganesan said: “During the time of rescue, the animal was 80 kg and now it has risen to 144 kg. We have placed 5 kg of beef inside the enclosure. But it did not touch it till Sunday evening. We will provide the diet prescribed by veterinarians.” Over the past eight months, he said, they had tried various methods to hide human presence from the animal. The two staff who feed the cub cover their faces with mud and camouflage themselves while handling the tiger’s feed.