Sariska tiger relocation halted for now

Sariska tiger relocation halted for now

Anindo Dey, TNN, 12 January 2010, 04:16am IST

JAIPUR: Once lauded as a landmark effort in tiger conservation in the country, the relocation of wild cats to the Sariska tiger reserve might become just a footnote in wildlife history.

Sources in the ministry of forest and environment said the relocation bid has been stalled. “It will take some time and cannot happen overnight. Concerns were raised by some people over the inbreeding of tigers in Sariska and so we have sought a study on it. The relocation will resume after the findings,” said Rajesh Gopal, director of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

Interestingly, Gopal had himself written a letter to an English daily on July 9 last year trashing reports the paper had carried highlighting problems of inbreeding at Sariska.

“The very fact that Ranthambore tiger population has a comparatively high heterozygosity of 0.52 highlights the fact that the ill effects of inbreeding depression has not manifested in the population owing to adaptation,” he had written.

The relocation of wild cats was a joint bid by the Union government, the NTCA, the Wildlife Trust of India and the state government to re-establish tigers in Sariska after poachers killed all the big cats in the reserve forest.

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