‘The Big Cat’ To Head To Sunderbans After Capture

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Jhargram: A day after cameras found a full-grown male tiger in once-Red zone Lalgarh, foresters on Saturday placed two trap cages with live baits to capture the big cat. Sources had earlier said since the tiger had already killed seven full-grown cows in the area and the forest didn’t have proper prey base, the officials have decided to shift it to the Sunderbans’ Jharkhali rescue centre for the time being.

Once captured, foresters may also find out the tiger’s genetic composition to decode the population cluster it belongs to. “Genetic sampling will help us find its origin,” an officer said.

Chief wildlife warden Ravi Kant Sinha said the photographs have been sent to the National Tiger Conservation Authority so that they can match the stripe patterns with those available in their database.

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Divisional forest officer Rabindranath Saha said: “The cages had arrived on Friday night and we finished laying them by Saturday afternoon. We have placed them in two different locations of the forest.”

“We didn’t find any new tiger images today morning, but got fresh pug marks in the area. We are also making announcements, asking villagers not to venture into the forest,” Saha added.

Meanwhile, forest minister Binoy Burman, while commenting on the next course of action, said their first priority was to bring the tiger to Jharkhali. “We will keep the big cat in Jharkhali for a few days where our vets will check on it. Later, in consultation with the Centre, we have plans to reintroduce the big cat in any of the tiger habitats in north Bengal,” he added.

But, a senior NTCA official, on condition of anonymity, said tiger habitat in north Bengal is different from that of the central Indian landscape, from where the big cat has possibly come.

“This tiger will have to be reintroduced to the wild based on our standard operating procedure, which says a tiger from one landscape can be reintroduced to an identical landscape only. There are speculations that the tiger has come from Odisha’s Simlipal and we have taken up a tiger relocation project for Satkosia in the same state, why not reintroduce it there?” he said.

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