Rescued tiger successfully rehabilitated in Assam

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Photo credit: Field Director, Manas Tiger Reserve/ WWF India/ATREE/Aaranyak

In March 2010, an adult male royal Bengal tiger almost fell prey to a man-animal conflict at Geleki in Upper Assam’s Sivasagar district, until it was rescued by a team from the Central Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (CWRC) of the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).

The big cat was treated in the CWRC, which is located close to the Kaziranga National Park, an UNESCO world heritage site and a known one-horn Rhino turf. This Centre is the only one of its kind in the country and has rescued many big cats apart from other animals. WTI then released it in the wild in the Manas National Park, another UNESCO world heritage site in lower Assam, after being radio collared. The tiger was recently sighted again in Manas confirming its survival after being released back in the jungle. This made it a successful rehabilitation in a nation where tigers are losing their numbers fast.

“With the tiger population estimated to be less than 2,000 in the country, we cannot afford to be losing individual tigers to captivity unnecessarily. But then, we cannot also afford to risk human lives, by hastily releasing a ‘potential-trouble’ tigers, losing crucial public support for the entire species. It’s a predicament that requires careful consideration of possibilities, based on clear understanding of the animal’s behavior,” Vivek Menon, Executive Director, WTI and Regional Director – South Asia, IFAW explained.
The royal Bengal tiger was recently photographed in the camera traps set for tiger monitoring in Manas, around 1095 days since it was released, as part of Project Tiger.

“The new photograph showed that the tiger’s collar has dropped off. With the amount of time it has spent without reports of conflict involving it, we can now be satisfied that this tiger has established itself here. Its reproductive success in Manas will contribute to tiger conservation in this (Manas-Bhutan) landscape,” said Dr Bhaskar Choudhury, Regional Head – Northeast, WTI.

Since its release, this is the second indirect sighting of the tiger. It was first photographed in February 2011 when it was with its collar.
At a time when poaching of wild animals, including tigers, is rampant, the successful rehabilitation of this tiger and its survival will give conservation efforts much needed fresh zeal.

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Special Correspondent

A young IT professional by training and a journalist by chance, Ratnadip comes from the smallest Northeastern state of Tripura and has been reporting out of Northeast India for ten years, as of 2014. An award winning Journalist, Ratnadip started his career with the Tripura Observer and went on to work with the Northeast Sun, The Northeast Today, News Live, Sahara Time and The Sunday Indian. He has also contributed to BBC, CNN, NatGeo TV, NDTV, CNN-IBN and TIMES NOW. Before joining Tehelka, Ratnadip worked with the national bureau of the television news channel NewsX. He specialises in conflict reporting and has a keen interest in India’s eastern neighbours. He has won the RedInk Excellence in Journalism Award 2013, Northeast Green Journo Award 2013, LAADLI Media awards for Gender sensitivity 2013. He is among 10 young Indian scholars selected by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on trans-boundary river issues of the subcontinent. He is based in Guwahati.

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