Panna all set to welcome Kanha tigress

March 25th, 2011 - 8:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhopal, March 25 (IANS) A five-year-old tigress from Madhya Pradesh’s Kanha National Park will Friday night make a 450-km road journey to her new home in Panna forest.

Her journey was originally scheduled in December last year but had to be postponed as she was injured in a fight with another tigress in Kanha.

Both tigresses have been selected for the translocation from Kanha as part of a government programme to reintroduce the big cats in Panna National Park, also in Madhya Pradesh.

However, only one tigress will be moved to Panna Friday. The other one will be shifted later.

Wildlife scientists and veterinarians from the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India are in Kanha and Panna to oversee the intricate translocation operation.

“The tigress to be brought to Panna is aged about five years and is living in extended enclosure ever since her mother died,” said R. Sriniwas Murthy, director of Panna Tiger Reserve.

The tigress will be tranquilised Friday evening before her travel to Panna. She will arrive there by Saturday morning, covering the distance ofabout 450 km. Officials say they hope the journey would be completed in about 12 hours.

She will be radio-collared before her release in the Mandla forest range of Panna.

The Kanha and Panna national parks are two of the six tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh. The 1,945 sq km Kanha park was set up in 1955. According to a census in 2006, Kanha had about 90-130 tigers.

Spread across more than 500 sq km, Panna was created in 1981. Currently, Panna has three adult tigers and two cubs. A tigress, which had been earlier translocated from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, also in Madhya Pradesh, to Panna, has mated and given birth to four cubs there in March this year. Unfortunately, two cubs went missing and are feared dead.

The Panna officials said that they have requisitioned one elephant each from Kanha, Satpura and Bandhavgarh forests to monitor the tigress’ movements in the first 15 days.

The state government has secured permission to shift six tigers - four females and two males - to Panna from different reserves in Madhya Pradesh from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

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