|The tiger spotted at the Manas National Park. Photo Credit: Field director, Manas Tiger Reserve- WWF India-ATREE-Aaranyak
Guwahati/Jorhat April 1: The sighting of a male tiger at Manas National Park recently has proved that this animal, saved from conflict in Sivasagar district and translocated to Manas, has survived in the wilds for more than 1,000 days after its release.
The tiger was caught from Geleky in March 2010, after encounters with humans that had resulted in the death of two persons.
The tiger was released by the forest department, assisted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI).
Its survival gives weight to Wildlife Trust of India’s statement that the animal release percentage of the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation is more than 50 per cent, the best for any such centre in the world.
Rathin Barman, a senior Wildlife Trust of India official, told reporters here that the centre has attended to more than 3,000 cases and saved lives of more than 1,600 wild animals in distress.
The official was briefing reporters on the trust’s work in the state.
Barman said they were working to secure critical wildlife corridors in Assam to provide safe passage to animals from Kaziranga to Karbi Anglong hills during the annual floods.
Sources said encroachment has disturbed the movement of animals, leading to increasing cases of man-animal conflicts.
“We are working with people living in these corridors for some time now to ensure best implementation of a solution that benefits all,” he said.
“CWRC has also provided a platform and helped to train around 45 people,” he said.
He said 1,936 forest employees have been insured under its group accident insurance scheme.
“In cases of human-tiger conflicts in India, capture is generally the beginning and not the end of the story,” said Vivek Menon, the executive director, WTI and regional director, South Asia, IFAW.
“With the tiger population estimated to be less than 2,000 in the country, we cannot afford to lose individuals unnecessarily. But then, we cannot also afford to risk human lives, by hastily releasing a potential-troubled individual animal, losing crucial public support for the entire species. It’s a predicament that requires careful consideration of possibilities, based on clear understanding of the animal’s behaviour,” he added.
Analysing the situation in this case, the authorities found the attacks on people to be purely accidental, and decided to release it.
With efforts on for the revival of Manas, the Bodoland Territorial Council granted permission for its release in greater Manas region.
Accordingly, on April 1 that year, the tiger was radio-collared and released in Manas.
The tiger was recently photographed in the camera traps set for tiger monitoring in Manas, around 1,095 days since it was released.
“The new photograph showed that the tiger’s collar has dropped off. With the amount of time it has spent without reports of conflict involving it, we can now be satisfied that this tiger has established itself here. Its reproductive success in Manas will contribute to tiger conservation in this (Manas-Bhutan) landscape,” said Bhaskar Choudhury, regional head, Northeast, WTI.
Tigers can generally be identified through the patterns of their stripes, in case their collars drop off.
“This couldn’t have been possible without the bold and important decision taken by the forest department authority, including Suresh Chand, chief wildlife warden, Assam, and Anindya Swargiary, field director, Manas tiger reserve, which is truly commendable. This success has shown that conflict animals can be rehabilitated successfully with meticulous planning and scientific monitoring,” he added.
Since its release, this is the second indirect sighting of the tiger.
It was first photographed in February 2011, when it still had its collar.