Assam tigers to be relocated to Buxa

25 Feb 2018

As many as six tigers would be relocated to the Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) in North Bengal after the arrangements, including augmentation of prey base and grassland were complete, a top forest official has said. The relocation of the big cats is part of a plan to augment tiger population in the reserve which has been approved by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
"Six tigers would be brought from the national parks in neighbouring Assam which are genetically similar to Buxa," the state's chief wildlife warden Rabi Kant Sinha told PTI. He said the NTCA has already given the go ahead for the plan for tiger population augmentation in Buxa and the state government too has approved it.
"As part of the prey base augmentation programme in Buxa, initially we have brought spotted deer from other national parks and wildlife sanctuaries and they are put under quarantine. Later, they will be released in the tiger reserve," Sinha, who is also the principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife), said. He said Sambar deer would also be released in the tiger reserve in the next 2-3 months. Asked if tigers would be relocated from Kaziranga National Park in Assam, he said the decision rests with the Assam government if they want to relocate the big cats from Kaziranga, Orang or Pobitora. He said that the six tigers would be introduced in phases once all the arrangements are in place.
Asked if relocating the tigers could be feasible in Buxa where there is human disturbance, Sinha said, "We need to tackle this problem". Biswajit Roy Chowdhury, a conservationist and wildlife expert, said that human interference at Buxa is a cause for concern. Roy Chowdhury, Secretary, Nature Environment and Wildlife Society said that there are a number of villages in the tiger reserve area which should ideally be shifted elsewhere, he said. "If tigers are relocated to the reserve after improvement in habitat, prey base and security, it will be good. But first and foremost thing is security which has to be tightened there," he said. He said camera traps installed earlier by his organisation in the tiger reserve had even captured the presence of people with arms. Sighting of tiger was not reported for long in Buxa although the forest department has claimed that the big cats were present in BTR. BTR is located in Alipurduar sub-division of West Bengal s Jalpaiguri District. The tiger reserve, which borders Bhutan, has an area of 760 square kilometre. R P Saini, additional principal chief conservator of Forests and a former field director of BTR, asserted that big cats do exist in the reserve, although their numbers are few. "We found a bison killed in the BTR. Leopards cannot kill a bison. It confirms the presence of tiger. We also found tiger scat there," he said. (PTI)