Posted by: Joydip & Suchandra Kundu on
Feb 23, 2010
Kolkata: The straying Sunderbans tiger that was captured at Sonaga in Gosaba on Monday will be fitted with a radio collar.
Officials of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehra Dun, have reached Sunderbans with an imported collar that is believed to be an improved version of the earlier one that had been tried on a tigress in 2007. It malfunctioned within a few weeks, throwing the plan to modernize tiger monitoring methods out of gear.
The adult female that sneaked into Sonaga and was tranquillized has been kept under observation. According to forest officials, the collar will be installed only after it has been made sure that the animal is in perfect health.
The device being used this time has been successfully used on carnivores like grizzly bears and jaguars in North America. “It is believed to be ideally suited for fast-moving predators like the tiger and has been modified to survive in saline water. The collar can be programmed with a remote control and has a circuit that is much advanced than the previous ones that we have been experimenting with so far. We expect the device to work successfully this time,” said Pradip Vyas, director, Sundarban Biosphere Reserve.
A team of experts from WII, including a veterinarian, reached the Panchamukhani creek where the tigress has been kept on a launch. They examined the big cat to check if it has recovered sufficiently from Monday’s tranquillizing shot. Since the animal will have to be immobilised once again with a tranquillizer to install the radio collar, veterinarians are keen to ensure that the tigress is ready to bear the strain.
“It seems healthy. It had a goat on Tuesday and moved about restlessly in her cage. But it has to be monitored till the last moment,” added Vyas. The tigress could be released early on Wednesday morning.
Priced at Rs 3.5 lakh, the collar was brought from the WII’s Dehra Dun headquarters on Tuesday. In fact, the state forest department has procured an additional collar that will be kept in reserve.
Prithvijit Mitra | TNN