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Lonely Rajasthan tiger falls for forest department's 'mating call'

Only the big cat didn't know that the call of a feline willing to mate was actually a pre-recorded sound played on loudspeakers mounted on a SUV.

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Lonely Rajasthan tiger falls for forest department's 'mating call'
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Forest officials in Rajasthan, pushed to their last reserves of imagination and patience in getting a lone tiger out of its self-imposed confinement, baited him with a honeytrap and successfully lured him out of the enclosure. Only the big cat didn't know that the call of a feline willing to mate was actually a pre-recorded sound played on loudspeakers mounted on a SUV.

This innovative idea was put into practice inside the Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve (MHTR) on Thursday where a male tiger MT-1 was released for acclimatisation process inside a 24-hectare enclosure on April 3 following its translocation from the Ramgarh Vishdhari sanctuary in Bundi district. What started as a worry increasingly became a source of anxiety for the forest department because the tiger refused to come out of its enclosure since its trans-location. The officials were in a bind as the translocation project did not abide by the conditions laid down by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

"MT-1 had thwarted all efforts to have him removed to a bigger enclosure of 82 square kilometre," an official said. When everything else failed, including luring him with animal bait and keeping the gates of the enclosure open, the forest officials set out to try their 'Brahmastra'. "In the wee hours of Thursday, huge speakers were mounted on a SUV and taken to a point outside the enclosure and out of view of the big cat. Using the speakers, the officials started playing the mating call of a tigress," a reliably placed source told DNA.

And, the move had the desired effect! MT-1 reportedly sprung to its feet and started moving towards the point where the sound of the feline was coming from. "The tiger started walking out of the enclosure and we started moving the SUV away at a regulated pace. This way the big cat was brought out of its enclosure," sources added.

Though the department might have accomplished one of its goals of bringing a tiger to MHTR, the overall project appears to have been hit by a roadblock. “Since the department flouted the conditions set by the NTCA for bringing tigers to MHTR, it is now at loggerheads with the NTCA that has withdrawn its support for bringing in two tigresses to MHTR. With the lone tiger roaming the area now, the future of MT-1 looks bleak,” sources added. 

Rajasthan is famed for its tiger population popularised by the Ranthambhore and Sariska parks. The entire population at Sariska was wiped out by poachers, but with successful translocation over the years the tigers have grown in numbers. The government attempting to replicate its success in MTHR.

The Lone Ranger Of Mukundra Hills

  • Tiger T-91 was translocated by forest officials from Ramgarh Vishdhari Sanctuary to MHTR on April 3
  • Tiger - rechristened MT-1 - was released inside a 24-hectare enclosure built at Darrah area to acclimatize him with new surroundings
  • After a fifteen-day acclimatization period, the tiger was to be let out inside the bigger enclosure that measured 82 square kilometers
  • However, the feline refused to budge from its enclosure after which the forest officials came up with this idea

 

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