WB: Rescued tiger heads for new home
22 Aug 2008, 0501 hrs IST,TNN
KOLKATA: They say that in the wild, a Sunderbans tiger can chill your blood with one roar. Everyone who was present at the Alipore Veterinary Hospital on Thursday would vouch for that.
Locked in a cage, the tiger started to snarl as soon as the flashbulbs popped. The tail lashed and, in a flash, the massive torso reared and the fangs snapped. The roar left the eardrums ringing.
Luckily, it was a lame tiger, which had lost a hind paw and was under treatment.
This was the last glimpse Kolkata had of the Jharkhali tiger, which had been rescued from a village with one of its paws chewed off, probably by a crocodile. It was bundled off to the Khayerbari rescue centre on Thursday evening.
The big cat had been under treatment at the hospital for the past six months.
The 12-year-old male was suffering from septicaemia when it was captured. It also had anaemia and had to be treated with antibiotics. “It is now medically fit for the journey to Khayerbari, though it will never be able to survive in the wild. It will spend the rest of its life at the rescue centre,” said Subir Choudhury, director of Alipore zoo.
A veterinary doctor and a few foresters accompanied the tiger to the North Bengal centre. Its food for the journey will be bought on the road. “It devours seven kg of buffalo meat a day. It is difficult to carry so much meat in the vehicle, so we’ll have to arrange for it as we go along. But the good news is that the tiger is fit and can survive for at least two more years,” said Swapan Ghosh, assistant director of the animal resources department.
The mystery behind the severed paw, however, remained unsolved. Sunderban Tiger Reserve officials had claimed that it had been bitten off by a crocodile, but doctors were not so sure. “It is not clear how the animal lost the paw. But it happened around three days before the tiger was trapped. The wound was infected and had almost killed it,” added Ghosh.
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