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Panel assesses progress of tiger rewilding project 

October 26, 2023 11:08 pm | Updated 11:08 pm IST - COIMBATORE

The tiger, which was was rescued from a tea estate near Valparai in September 2021, is about 30-months-old now. 

Tasked by the Chief Wildlife Warden, a committee on Thursday visited the enclosure in the core area of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) to assess the progress of the Forest Department’s first ever attempt at rewilding a tiger that was rescued as an abandoned cub in 2021.

ATR Field Director S. Ramasubramanian; Deputy Director (Pollachi Division) K. Bhargava Teja; Forest Veterinary Officer (ATR) E. Vijayaraghavan; WWF-India’s Landscape Coordinator (Western Ghats Nilgiris Landscape) D. Boominathan, among others, visited the 10,000 sq ft enclosure at Manthirimattam in Manambolly forest range.

The tiger, which was was rescued from a tea estate near Valparai in September 2021, is about 30-months-old now.

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The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, Srinivas R. Reddy, in consultation with experts from the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Wildlife Institute of India, had tasked the committee with assessing whether the tiger was ready to be released into the wild.

Various parameters, including the animal’s health and surveillance camera visuals of it hunting small herbivores that were released into the enclosure overthe past several months, were assessed.

The tiger was given meat in the early stages of rehabilitation. The animal’s right upper canine had a crack when it was rescued. It was surgically removed in September 2022. The animal showed significant progress in its hunting instincts, and has preyed on live animals such as wild boar, rabbit and sambar, among others, ATR authorities said.

The committee would submit a detailed report to the Chief Wildlife Warden, after which a decision will be taken on releasing the animal into the wild, an official said.

The tiger is taken care of by two dedicated staff of the Forest Department and being monitored through cameras. They staff wear masks and make minimal contact with the animal.

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