A female tiger cub, hand-raised at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) in Assam, was moved to Nandan Zoo in Raipur, Chhattisgarh on Saturday.
The cub was found alone by forest guards, who picked it up to avert chances of predation on October 21, 2011 while patrolling in Burapahar Range of Kaziranga National Park. The Assam Forest Department team, assisted by International Fund for Animal Welfare – Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI) staff made various attempts to reunite the cub with its mother for the following four days by keeping it in a make-shift shelter at the site where the cub was found. Five camera traps were deployed to record any movement of animals around the shelter where the cub was kept overnight. Though some tiger movements were recorded but none was recorded near the make-shift cage. As the cub was getting weak, it was shifted to the IFAW-WTI run centre for hand-raising on October 26.
This is the second time that a hand raised tiger is being moved from CWRC outside Assam. Last year we sent a male adult tiger from CWRC was sent to Van Vihar Zoo in Bhopal, said Sanjib Kumar Bora, Director Kaziranga National Park, and Project Leader – CWRC. Presently the tiger is in good health and has become very popular at the Bhopal Zoo because of its charismatic looks. It is expected to contribute to the National Tiger Conservation Breeding program in the Zoo, he added.
Rehabilitation of hand-raised tigers is not popular in India as there are reports of the released tiger losing fear of humans, said Dr NVK Ashraf, Chief Veterinarian, WTI. Raipur Zoo expressed their interest to have the tiger cub and they formally sent a letter through CZA (Central Zoo Authority) following which we arranged for the transfer of the cub. The 2100 km journey from CWRC to Nandan Van Zoo which started this afternoon will be completed in four days. The tiger has been confined in a specially-designed crate and is on its way to Guwahati by road. It will spend the night in Assam State Zoo and will be transported to Raipur by train, said Dr Rathin Barman, Advisor, WTI.
The cub will be loaded on a dedicated parcel van of the Saraighat Express tomorrow morning, that will depart Guwahati at 12 noon, said Dr Jay Kishore Jadiya, Forest Veterinary Officer, Nandan Van Zoo. Two forest guards and two animal keepers will be travelling together with the cub to ensure the safety of the tiger, he added.
The cub is in good health and has been screened for diseases and parasites, said Dr Abhijit Bhawal, the CWRC veterinarian who along with Dr Reetika Maheshwari and Dr Nupur Buragohain hand raised