Sariska tiger couple at home, getting closer
Mon, Aug 18 01:15 AM
There is a sigh of relief with satellite maps showing the relocated tiger and a tigress have adjusted to the new habitat in Sariska.India is the first country among 14 tiger nations to relocate the big cat from one natural habitat to another.
A tiger and a tigress were relocated from Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, also in Rajasthan, through an Indian Air Force helicopters to Sariska Tiger Reserve in the last week of June. Before releasing them into the wild, each animal was fitted with a radio collars worth $1,500 for ground level and satellite tracking to monitor their movement in the habitat.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NCTA) and the Rajasthan government received first satellite images of the animals on July 15, which showed that the animals were trying to adjust to the new habitat. However, subsequent images obtained through Canada-based Argos satellite, which specialises in data collection of wild animals, clearly showed that the tiger and tigress were moving freely in their core critical areas.
“The pattern of the data available through the satellite maps has helped us to understand the two animals were moving close to each other and would soon interact. This is a healthy indicator,” said Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of NCTA. The satellite maps accessed by Hindustan Times till August 9 show that the male tiger is moving freely in the northern part of the tiger reserve close to Pandupole Temple, Slopka Chowki and Tehla Gate and off late has been moving towards eastern part of the part, where the tigress has been relocated.
Similarly, the tigress is also moving northwards from her zone in central eastern part of the park. Considering that the relocation had entire global wildlife fraternity watching first such experiment on tigers, the government decided to employ the globally acceptable Lotek radio collaring system based on global positioning system and VHF (radio frequency) tracking system.
“We can monitor the animals both through satellite and radio frequency,” Gopal said. Under the system, minimum two and maximum of six locations can be monitored at a given time.
Following the success, the NCTA has decided to employ radio collaring in four other tiger reserves – Sunderbans, Pench, Kahna and Ranthamore. All these reserves had been in news in the recent years for being under constant threat of poachers.