Kerala

PTR breaks rule, gives ‘chicken-hunter’ a name

Mangala, now five months old, will be released to the forest when it turns two.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

As a rule, animals in wildlife sanctuaries are not given names. The State has broken the rule for once and christened a female tiger cub at the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR). The cub was abandoned by its mother in the forest on the border with Tamil Nadu last year and the PTR staff had found it in an emaciated state.

A temporary shelter was set up near the place it was found.

Two veterinary doctors monitored it constantly. Once the cub was nursed back to health, it was named Mangala.

Why the name

Sunul Babu, PTR deputy director, said the cub was found abandoned near the remains of Mangala Devi Temple and hence the name.

The authorities initially tried to trace its mother. The search was extended to Tamil Nadu and camera traps were set up. Nothing came of it. A Forest Department official said that either the mother was dead or it must have left with other cubs to the deep forest, leaving the weak one behind.

No prepared food

Mangala has regained health, but the training to hunt for prey continues full-throttle. It is never given prepared food so that the instinct to hunt remains sharp, said an official at the PTR.

Initially, Mangala learnt to hunt chicken. Slowly, the cub will be moved to an environment with no human presence. It is cared for as per the guidelines prescribed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority of India (NTCA).

It’s a slow process

Nearly 15 acres of forest is marked and will be fenced soon. The width of its cage will be increased with time. Mangala, now five months old, will be released into the forest when it turns two.

Normally, when a tiger cub is rescued from the forest, it is shifted to a zoo. But PTR officials decided to train Mangala in preparation for its future forest stint. Once it is released into the forest, Mangala will remain untraced, like the other tigers in the PTR.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 10:39:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ptr-breaks-rule-gives-chicken-hunter-a-name/article34297253.ece

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