Homesick tiger puts MP forest officials in fix

Homesick tiger puts MP forest officials in fix

Rahul Noronha, Hindustan Times
Bhopal, December 24, 2009
First Published: 00:24 IST(24/12/2009)
Last Updated: 01:03 IST(24/12/2009)

It’s not another Tiger Woods joke. A homesick tiger has kept more than 100 forest officials in the woods for close to a month.

The big cat, brought to Madhya Pradesh’s Panna National Park from the Pench reserve 400 km away, does not like his new habitat, which includes two relocated tigresses.

And he seems to be heading back home.

Leaving wildlife scientists baffled, the tiger — tracked 24×7 through a radio collar — has crossed hills, fields, human habitations and rivers, and is now moving towards his home at Pench.

Tracking the reluctant migrant, Panna National Park field director R. Sriniwas Murthy has not gone home for four weeks. Also on the tiger’s trail are three veterinarians, five elephants and a truck to move elephants, besides local forest department officials.

The tiger was released in Panna on November 14.

He has been on the move since November 25.

On Monday, after crossing the Ken, Boarma and Sonar rivers, he was reported to be in the Nauradehi Sanctuary with only the Narmada separating him and his original home. On Wednesday, high frequency radio signals located him in Damoh district, midway between Pench and Panna.

Madhya Pradesh’s chief wildlife warden R.S. Negi said the phenomenon was difficult to fathom. “One can’t say whether the tiger knows he’s heading towards his original home,” said Negi.

The tiger has to be tranquillised and taken back to Panna but the dense foliage and tough terrain have prevented veterinarians from doing so.

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