Tamil Nadu

Minimal human presence for rewilding tiger cub

An eight-month-old tiger cub that was captured by the Forest Department from the Valparai region of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) last month will have minimal interaction with humans during the rewilding programme.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden Shekhar Kumar Niraj told The Hindu on Sunday that just one or two staff of the Department would take care of the cub, with minimal direct interaction with the animal, during the rewilding programme. A specially designed enclosure will be set up inside the Manambolly forest range of ATR in two to four weeks.

Mr. Niraj, along with ATR Field Director S. Ramasubramanian and senior officials, visited the male tiger cub, which is currently kept in a cage near the Department’s rest house in Manambolly. He said the cub was active and was taking cut meat. “The enclosure will be strong enough to protect it from other animals. Food will be provided to the cub through an opening... Live prey like chicken will be put into the enclosure at a later stage. The programme will continue till the animal learns to hunt prey,” he said.

Mr. Ramasubramanian said a location had been identified in Manthirimattam in the Manambolly range to set up the enclosure.

“The enclosure will be 10,000 sq ft. It is a dense forest area where there is no room for human presence other than the animal’s caretakers. The caretakers will not allow the cub to become friendly with them,” he said. The enclosure will have chain-link and solar fencing to protect the cub from other wild animals. There will also be a closely knit 3-ft-tall mesh to keep the enclosure free from snakes.

“An artificial den and a trough will be built for the cub inside the enclosure. Infrared surveillance cameras will also be set up inside the enclosure to monitor its activities. The cameras will help us monitor the cub without any physical presence,” Mr. Ramasubramanian said.

The Department captured the cub from Thaimudi estate, under the Manambolly range of ATR, on September 28, after it was found stranded and wandering outside the forest for two to three days in weak condition. When captured, it had a porcupine quill lodged on its body.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 6:49:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/minimal-human-presence-for-rewilding-tiger-cub/article37046745.ece

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