Ranthambore tigress plays cat-and-mouse game, relocation to Sariska put off

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Ranthambore tigress plays cat-and-mouse game, relocation to Sariska put off

Posted online: Nov 05, 2008 at 0014 hrs

Jaipur, November 4 : The translocation of another tigress from Ranthambore National Park to the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajasthan has been postponed to Wednesday with forest officials failing to sight and track the big cat since Sunday.
The four-year-old tigress was supposed to be tranquilised before being shifted to Sariska in an IAF helicopter. Sources in the forest department said if the tiger was not tracked even on Wednesday, the translocation would have to be deferred by a few more days.

“The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) experts and forest department officials have been trying to locate the tiger for two days now but the animal has not come out into the open,” said Sariska field director P S Somashekar.

He added that localising a tigress was a cumbersome task as the animal was constantly on the move and tranquilisation was a precise science. “The Air Force and Sariska is fully prepared for the translocation, but it seems we will have to wait,” he said.

A senior forest official in Ranthambore said they managed to spot the tigress on several occasions but only for brief spells. “We need to be around 20 metres away from the tigress to be able to tranquilise it. Also, tranquilisation is a tricky job and any miss could endanger the tigress,” he said.

He also added that the drug worked for close to two hours, within which the tiger had to be shifted to the specially designed cage latched to a helicopter and flown to Sariska.

The Ranthambore National Park authorities, who had earlier tracked and translocated a tiger couple four months ago, said though the winter season was the best time for translocation, it was also the most difficult. “In winter, the tigress stalks more prey and is in a better physical condition,” Somashekhar said.

After the monsoons, the grass in the national park had grown upto four feet making it difficult to sight the tigress for a sustained period, he added.

“The first tiger couple has settled well in Sariska,” said Somashekhar.



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