Rescued tiger preys on rabbits, marks territory in open enclosure

The animal was released into the enclosure on June 5.

The animal was released into the enclosure on June 5. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Efforts by the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) authorities to rewild a tiger, which was rescued as a cub from a tea estate near Valparai last year, has started to pay off as the animal has preyed on live animals released into its open enclosure.

According to the authorities, the carnivore has preyed on rabbits released by the staff into the 10,000 sq. ft enclosure, set up at Manthirimattam in the core area of the tiger reserve for the State’s first tiger rewilding programme.

Surveillance cameras that were fixed to monitor the tiger, also aimed at reducing human presence around the enclosure, recorded the tiger chasing and feeding on rabbits. The animal, aged around 13 months, was released into the enclosure on June 5. 

Forest Department officials said it took a few days for the animal to get accustomed to the large open enclosure, having facilities such as a watering hole and a den. “The tiger was using only a portion of the enclosure in the initial days. Now, it is walking around the whole area and has started cooling itself in the watering hole. In the rain, the animal was also observed using the den to sleep. The most promising observation was that it was found marking its territory by spraying urine along the borders of the enclosure,” said M.G. Ganesan, Deputy Director ATR.

The authorities had left a huge log in the enclosure and the tiger was observed clawing it, a typical feline behaviour. To ensure that the tiger gets enough food in the new environment, the staff also provide meat. 

Officials said other soft prey, including piglets, would be released into the enclosure, in consultation with experts and the veterinarian in-charge of the rewilding programme.

ATR veterinarian E. Vijayaraghavan, a biologist, an anti-poaching watcher and two additional staff for the protection of the enclosure are taking care of the tiger. The enclosure has a three-tier securing system, including a trench around the whole area. 

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2022 7:06:37 am |