Endangered Tiger released in World Heritage Site

Thursday, 8 April, 2010
Yarmouth Port, Mass
An endangered Royal Bengal tiger that strayed near a village in Assam, India was rescued early last week and later released in Manas National Park, becoming the first tiger released to the wild in this World Heritage Site.

The tiger, one of 1,200 to 1,500 left in the wild, was tranquilized and captured by a team of Assam Forest Department staff and assisted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org). The tiger was kept at the IFAW Wildlife Rescue Center in the outskirts of Kaziranga National Park for close to 70 hours as the authorities discussed its release with experts from the state.

“Ideally, any ‘stray’ animals that are rescued are released in or close to the site of rescue. However, in this tiger’s case, it was essential to find an alternative release site, as Geleki Reserve Forest from where the tiger could have originated, is extremely fragmented,” clarified Dr. NVK Ashraf, Director of IFAW’s Wild Rescue Project in India.

Manas National Park was selected as the most suitable area as the IFAW team is already monitoring previously released elephants and rhinos and is already equipped to carry out the required post-release monitoring of this endangered tiger.

“We think Manas has a good prey base and good habitat for tigers. Even though there are other dominant males here, we hope this adult tiger will not have any conflict with them and will be successful in making its own territory very soon,” said A. Swargiary, Field Director, Manas National Park.

The tiger was translocated to Manas from the IFAW rescue center. Prior to its release, the tiger was radio-collared by a team led by IFAW veterinarian Dr. Bhaskar Choudhury.

“We are extremely happy and excited to have this tiger back in the wild. Now we are monitoring the tiger with the hope that it settles down and establishes a territory in Manas,” said Dr Choudhury.

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