GUWAHATI: West Bengal has sought Assam’s help to prevent massive erosion of tiger population in Buxa Tiger Reserve.
The neighbouring State has chalked out a plan is to relocate a tiger and two tigresses either from Kaziranga National Parks or Orang National Park to Buxa Tiger Reserve in north Bengal before 2020. The next batch - again a male and two females - will be released when the first three settle down in their new home in Alipurduar sub-division of Jalpaiguri district.
The tiger relocation project is a collaborative effort involving the forest department, the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the Wildlife Institute of India and the Global Tiger Forum.
The Buxa Tiger Reserve covering an area of 760sqkm shares its borders with Assam and Bhutan. Buxa used to have high tiger density because of its abundant prey base. But the habitat deterioration over the years has resulted in a depletion of the prey base, directly impacting tiger survival.
“Assam is a viable option in the relocation plan because tigers of the State are demographically, genetically and behaviourally suitable for Buxa . The tigers will be tracked, tranquillised and radio-collared before being transported to Buxa. The post-release phase will involve constant monitoring of how the tigers adapt to their new environment,” a source in State Forest department told The Sentinel.
The strategy of relocating tigers to repopulate dying reserves was first tried out at Sariska in Rajasthan in 2008. Panna in Madhya Pradesh benefited from a similar initiative in 2010, followed by some other parks. But all these relocations were intra-state. The first inter-state relocation took place on June 21 this year, when a tiger from Kanha was shifted to Satkosia in Odisha.
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