8 May 2008, 1518 hrs IST,PTI
NEW DELHI: Endangered wild cats will now get a chance to fly.
Hoping to minimise the trauma of a pair of tiger cubs being translocated to Sariska from Ranthambore National Park, the Rajasthan government wants a chopper to transport them.
The state government has sent a proposal in this regard to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) expressing its desire to airlift the cubs from Ranthambore to Sariska where the animals will be introduced.
The officials have argued that a chopper ride would minimise the trauma of the animals during the shifting process. The flight to Sariska will take nearly 45 minutes against the 12-hour road journey.
“We have received such a proposal from Rajasthan Government and we have no objections to the idea. Obviously, the state government wants the trip to be convenient for the animal. But they have to arrange the chopper for the job,” Rajesh Gopal, Member Secretary of NTCA, said.
Gopal said once all the basics are sorted out by the state authorities, experts from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) will chip in to execute the task.
Of the 10-12 cubs identified for the purpose, a pair in the age group of 3-4 years will be relocated to Sariska, which is known to have an “excellent” prey base.
Sources said Rajasthan Government officials are in contact with an NGO seeking its help in arranging the helicopter for the purpose.
The Vasundhare Raje government has also asked the organisation to help it arrange radio collars as well drugs to tranquilise the animal.
The drug is not available in India, Gopal said. “The identified cubs will be radio collared and then tranquilised to be caged. Once trapped in the cage, they will be given an antidote and shifted to their target destination. Extra precautions have to be taken to ensure that the animal remains medically fit during the entire process,” Dehradun-based WII director PR Sinha said.
He said “translocating an animal from one habitat to another is a challenge for us as well the state government as is a traumatic experience particularly for tigers, who are extremely territorial animals. If not handled carefully, the process can be fatal.”
Poachers have wiped out the entire population of tigers from Sariska and now the Rajasthan Government is making all efforts to introduce the stripped cat in the region from Ranthambore National Park.