Yes you can successfully re-introduce Zoo cats back to the wild.
Billy Arjan Singh was one of India’s greatest wildlife conservationists, a living legend and famous for hand rearing 3 leopards and 1 tiger and reintroducing them to the wild. The Leopards Prince, Harriet and Juliette, and Tara the Tigress born in Twycross zoo in England.
With Tara there was controversy from the start… over her pure bred Bengal status, with claims that she carried the genes of another sub-species the ‘Siberian,’…with some accusing him of introducing Siberian tiger genes to Dudhwa and possibly further afield, he refuted the criticism, believing that it would only enhance the gene pool.
His idea was to release a captive bred Bengal tigress into the wild to both refresh the gene pool at Dudhwa and demonstrate that artificial restocking was possible; plus, to prove experts wrong that zoo bred hand reared tigers could never be released into the wild successfully.
However, in the late 70’s Dudhwa became famous for its man eating tigers with a total of 24 people killed – many believed Tara was responsible, due to her lack of hunting skills, believing that she was hunting humans as an easier prey. Billy joined the many hunts for the man eater and to identify the tiger. The Park director Mr Ram Lakhan Singh claimed he had shot her on 11th November, 1980 and mounted her in his house..with a certificate from the Government of India declaring that this is the trophy of the tigress killed.
Proving that you cannot successfully re-release hand reared or zoo bred cats back into the wild.
However, both Billy and a committee of Indian tiger specialists said it was definitely not Tara. Billy claimed to the end that Tara was not responsible and that he had kept a track of her and that she had died in 1992.
If you look at the markings of the Lucknow tiger with the markings of Tara you can see that they are different. He was right and re-releasing big cats or any wild captive animal back from zoos to the wild is a successful reality.
After publishing many books and gathering many Awards..Billy received the in 2004, his 88th year, he was awarded the J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Prize by the World Wide Fund for Nature – the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in acknowledgement of his lifetime’s work.
Moves need to be made to create centres for rehabilitation around the parks..that can both look after the injured and ready zoo bred for re-release. If the money is spent here and conserving corridors…they can make also more money from tourism, kept to a strict path..viewing in the wild and phasing out zoos. Think of all the global money spent on zoos which could be redirected into wild conservation !
People need to be accountable to their part in the universal Karma ! And the tortured souls with a lifetime of imprisonment on view, at your mercy.