Tigress from Bandhavgarh to be flown to Panna this week

March 2nd, 2009 - 4:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhopal, March 2 (IANS) The first of the two tigresses to be shifted from Bandhavgarh Tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh would be flown to the state’s Panna Tiger Reserve in an Indian Air Force helicopter this week, officials said Monday.
“The stage is all set for the translocation of two tigresses, of which one would be shifted this week and another after a gap of five to six days, from Bandhavgarh to the state’s Panna Tiger Reserve where perhaps no tigress has been sighted in the past one year,” said Madhya Pradesh’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) H.S. Pabla.

“We have already got the permission from the central Ministry of Environment and Forest and now a team of Indian Air Force officials has also Sunday inspected the helipad constructed for landing of its helicopter which would be airlifting the tigress,” he said.

Pabla said the state forest department will take up the translocation of the tigresses to Panna, which is around 250 km from Bandhavgarh, under the supervision of Wildlife Institute of India.

The animals in the Panna reserve - spread over 745 sq km in Chhattarpur and Panna districts - had a vexing time for last few years due to the menace of the dacoits who frequently crossed over from Uttar Pradesh to Madhya Pradesh.

“The police combing of the area in search of dacoits resulted in dispersal of the tiger population. It is believed that the lone tigress in the reserve too fled with her two cubs from the Panna National Park due to the menace,” said a forest official.

“But now, with the elimination of dreaded dacoits in the past few months, the atmosphere in the reserve has once again become favourable for animal habitat.

“An enclosure has been readied in the Panna Reserve for the tigress in 1.25 hectares of land where efforts are being made to give her the surroundings akin to those in Bandhavgarh National Park. Besides, six close circuit cameras have been installed inside the enclosure and a control room has been set up to keep an eye on the activities of the wild cat,” Panna Tiger Reserve’s director Lalan Kumar Choudhary told IANS on phone.

“The entire exercise is aimed at increasing the tiger population in Panna as in the absence of breeding among the big cat, their number had dwindled in the reserve. This is the third attempt of its kind in the country and the first one in the state. Earlier wild cats have been airlifted only to Sariska, twice,” he added.

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