Zoo’s Royal Bengal tiger to be paired with tigress from Vizag

A Royal Bengal tigress from Visakhapatnam will soon make Vandalur zoo her new home.

Officials of the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur, are planning to bring the big cat by road from the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Visakhapatanam. The tigress will be paired with Vandalur’s nine-year-old Royal Bengal tiger, Vijay. Zoo sources said that at present, they were working on the logistics of transporting the tigress.

The transportation of endangered species, sources added, involved consideration of two factors: the climate, including the temperature of the places where the two zoos were located, as well screening the animal for diseases.

“It is not easy to transport such a big carnivorous animal from one place to another. But we are working on it and the tigress will be brought here soon,” a zoo official said.

Since the tigress is arriving under an animal exchange programme, Vandalur will part with a female bison which will be taken to Visakhapatnam. The exchange has already been approved of by the New Delhi-based Central Zoo Authority, a mandatory requirement for such exchanges. Both zoos also got the nod from their respective state governments.

Currently, Vijay has two white tigresses, Namrata and Akansha, as companions. In November, Namrata gave birth to four mixed-breed cubs. The two species of tigers were paired off by zoo officials, as all earlier attempts to get a Royal Bengal tigress for Vijay, had failed.

Zoo officials then shifted the white tigresses to Vijay’s enclosure, but it took nearly a year-and-a-half for the big cats to become acquainted.

“We had to allow the two species to breed because we had too many white tigresses. It was also done to prevent genetic deformities. However, we have always tried to get a young Royal Bengal tigress for Vijay,” said another zoo official.          

The zoo’s lone young male Royal Bengal tiger, Vijay was brought from the Visakhapatnam zoo in 2007 under the animal exchange programme. The zoo now has a total of 11 Royal Bengal tigers and 13 white tigers including the four newborn cubs.

The lifespan of a tiger, on an average, is around 20 years in the wild. In a zoo, tigers can live up to 25 years mainly due to better food and healthcare.

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