Zoos to breed ‘healthy’ tigers
Sun, Aug 3 01:20 AM
The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has identified six zoos across the country to act as coordinating centres for breeding ‘genetically healthy’ tigers. The six centres – the National Zoological Park, a.
k.a Delhi Zoo, and those in Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Chennai – will focus on genetic marking of tigers.
CZA member secretary B.R. Sharma said, “We will mark the tigers with known pedigree or those with wild origins.” The programme, taken up under the CZA’s Conservation Breeding Initiative, has been running for quite some time for some other species, but the sharp focus on tigers resulted from recent reports that the tiger population in India has dwindled alarmingly to a low of 1,500.
The big cat has since come up as the ‘priority species’ under the programme. Sharma said the genetically marked tigers would be treated as ‘founders’ of the breeding programme.
Marking is being done for all tigers across all zoos in India, which will ultimately lead to the creation of a studbook. “Then, we will decide on locating all such ‘genetically healthy’ tigers to the six centres,” Sharma added.
The breeding programme aims at keeping at least 100 physically and behaviourally healthy individual animals and birds of endangered species at Indian zoos in case one of these species faces extinction due to an epidemic or some infection.