NTCA to analyse Tiger translocation proposal for Rajaji Tiger Reserve

The Uttaranchal state forest department has sent final proposal for tiger translocation for western part of Rajaji Tiger Reserve (RTR) to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). In the first round two males will be dropped in the area. This will be first experiment of translocation of tigers in the state.

BS Bonal, member secretary of NTCA told TOI that he has got proposal from the Uttarakhand government with regard to tiger translocation.

“The standard operating procedure (SOP) will be followed before tigers are translocated in the western part of RTR. As per per SOP, the boundaries of the Rajaji has to be safe and, the entire paraphernalia with regard to staff and other resources to be fully equipped to stem poaching. The prey base should be sufficient and healthy. Some expert bodies or organization, such as Wildlife Institute of India, to monitor the entire process. It is essential to adapt these procedures to ensure the success of the translocation program in the area.”

VB Mathur, director of WII confirmed association of RTR in tiger translocation.
“WII has been advocating tiger translocation in RTR from very beginning. Our scientists will be there to monitor and support the translocation. They have also assisted a great deal in preparing the proposal for tiger translocation,” said he.

Motichur corridor on the western side has been riddled with encroachments such as establishment of an army depot since last 30 years, a big canal made by irrigation department, township of people who shifted from old Tehri and other villages. All these factors obstructed movement of tigers from Motichur to Chilla range (eastern side) and further Lansdowne region leading to Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR). This is the reason that tigers themselves are unable to reach to western part. Now the project has been prepared for their translocation.

¬†“The presence of male tigers in the western RTR has not been noticed after 2005.There are also no confirmed reports of tiger movement between the eastern part of RTR and the western part of RTR over the past seven years. As a result, the two tigresses of breeding age is genetically isolated from the rest of the tiger population in Terai-Arc-Landscape. There is no evidence of breeding of tigers in western RTR after 2003,” said Vinod Rishi, former additional director general of Wildlife , Ministry of environment and forest.
 According to Neena Grewal, director of RTR, there are already two tigresses in the western part, so the only requirement is for males to breed the tiger population in the region. So in the intial phase two tigers will be translocated and, over a period of ten years, some 10-12 tigers will be added in the region.
However, WII scientist, YV Jhala said that two tigress left in the western RTR has become old so the authorities must also introduce two tigresses in the area alongwith male tigers to ensure that the breeding take place. He suggested that the tigers can be brought from the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
Ashutosh Pande
Ashutosh Pande is a keen wildlife and nature enthusiast and a regular contributor at Tiger Bulletin.
Ashutosh Pande

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