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Translocation of tigers to Rajaji National park (07 / 02 /2016 ) : Groundwork has begun for translocating tigers from the Corbett landscape to the Rajaji reserve’s western part in Uttarakhand, that houses two bereft tigresses – a step towards repopulating that part of the reserve. A 3 – km – wide buzzing corridor cuts off the western part of the reserve from the eastern part that has over 15 tigers. The corridor buzzes with activity from NH 58, army ammunition dump, railway track and over 10 villages. This heavy disturbance, according to the wildlife Institute of India scientists, is the main reason why tigresses of the western part failed to cross over to the eastern part and stop breeding.

Though the final nod from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on the translocation is still awaited, reserve officials, in association with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), have started buying radio collars, camera traps, and tranquilizer guns that will be crucial during the tiger re-introduction process.

“We have started procuring necessary items that will be needed during the translocation process. While wildlife Institute of India (WII) is acting as a torchbearer for us, as they were behind tiger translocation at Sariska and Panna, WWF will be providing us technical and infrastructural support,” said director, Rajaji Tiger Reserve.  The final draft of tiger translocation in the western part of Rajaji was submitted to the NTCA in December 2015. While the state forest department was likely to initiate the translocation process this February, delays in getting the final approval from the Authority has prolonged the task further.

Rajaji is the newest and 48th tiger reserve of the country notified on April 20, 2015. It is spread across 1075 sq km, including 355 sqkm buffer. The translocated tiger is likely to be released directly into the wild. If necessary, female tiger could be translocated in the second phase. This process of translocation will be attempted repeatedly, unless breeding is reported, Rajaji officials said. According to WWF officials, the staff of western Rajaji will be given training.

“We have worked on the training module of the field staff. And we are likely to train them at either Panna or Sariska,” said team leader Tarai Arch Landscape (TAL), WWF. “Training will be crucial as the field staff would have to monitor and report about translocated tigers to senior officials,” said team leader.       

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