Tigers mate in Indian zoo after five years

Atanu Mukherjee
Jamshedpur, February 20, 2007

The Tiger couple at the Tata Zoo is spending time with each other after a prolonged separation. The zoo authorities had been trying for long to bring Shamali, the tigress, and Ben together. It seems the two had chosen the Valentineā€™s Day for forging the bond of love.

The zoo officials said Shamali and Ben had started mating and expressed the hope that the zoo might have a tiger cub by the end of May next year. The tiger couple in the Tata zoo had not mated in the last five years. The zoo authorities had taken up some initiatives last year to bring the male and female closer, but the efforts failed.

This time, however, the big cats were kept together in the open enclosure for a long time and the zoo authorities ensured that there was minimum interference into their movements. On the Valentineā€™s Day, the long-awaited mating fructified, giving the zoo authorities much-needed relief.

“We are happy that Ben and Shyamali have started mating. The mating would continue for a week or a little more. If everything goes well and Shamali successfully conceives, we would probably have a tiger cub by the end of May. Usually it takes about 105 days for a female tiger to conceive,” said MS Jain, director, Tata Steel Zoological Park.

For the last three months, the zoo officials tried their best to keep the duo together. “We have been keeping a close watch on Ben and Shyamali so that the mating is done successfully,” a zoo staff said.


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