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Plan to translocate Assam tigers to West Bengal

By SIVASISH THAKUR

GUWAHATI, Feb 15 - West Bengal�s Buxa Tiger Reserve which recorded no presence of the big cat in the last tiger census is likely to end its ignominy, thanks to the still-healthy tiger population of Assam.

A plan is afoot to translocate six tigers from Assam, preferably from Kaziranga National Park, to Buxa to help regenerate its tiger population.

While the developments have brought cheers for the beleaguered Buxa Tiger Reserve where no direct evidence of the tiger has been found for the last 30 years, conservationists here have called for caution before hurriedly moving ahead with the translocation exercise.

�The developments are still at a nascent stage and before proceeding with the translocation, a host of criteria will have to be met by Buxa which is not in the best of shape due to a number of constraints. Most critical of the parameters for tiger relocation is the status of tiger habitat in terms of security and prey base. As of now, Buxa could struggle to meet the desired standards,� a source in the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) told The Assam Tribune.

In any case, a comprehensive assessment of all these aspects by the NTCA will precede the translocation exercise even when it is agreed in principle.

A forest official said Buxa was grappling with a problem of limited prey base for the tiger, besides plagued by excessive livestock grazing � something that needs to be addressed before tigers could be reintroduced there.

Recently, several spotted deer and sambar were released in Buxa to boost the tiger prey base. �This is a good move but all the concerns will have to be addressed before we can relocate the tiger,� he said.

As per the latest count, the number of tigers in the wild in India has grown to 2,967, a 33 per cent rise over four years � a big addition of 741 tigers from the count of 2,226 in 2014 � but tigers have vanished from three reserves, including Buxa in West Bengal.

Despite the steady rising counts, conservationists and wildlife scientists have warned that habitat loss, development pressures, and fragmentation of safe corridors between habitats continue to pose serious threats to tigers at several sites.

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Plan to translocate Assam tigers to West Bengal

GUWAHATI, Feb 15 - West Bengal�s Buxa Tiger Reserve which recorded no presence of the big cat in the last tiger census is likely to end its ignominy, thanks to the still-healthy tiger population of Assam.

A plan is afoot to translocate six tigers from Assam, preferably from Kaziranga National Park, to Buxa to help regenerate its tiger population.

While the developments have brought cheers for the beleaguered Buxa Tiger Reserve where no direct evidence of the tiger has been found for the last 30 years, conservationists here have called for caution before hurriedly moving ahead with the translocation exercise.

�The developments are still at a nascent stage and before proceeding with the translocation, a host of criteria will have to be met by Buxa which is not in the best of shape due to a number of constraints. Most critical of the parameters for tiger relocation is the status of tiger habitat in terms of security and prey base. As of now, Buxa could struggle to meet the desired standards,� a source in the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) told The Assam Tribune.

In any case, a comprehensive assessment of all these aspects by the NTCA will precede the translocation exercise even when it is agreed in principle.

A forest official said Buxa was grappling with a problem of limited prey base for the tiger, besides plagued by excessive livestock grazing � something that needs to be addressed before tigers could be reintroduced there.

Recently, several spotted deer and sambar were released in Buxa to boost the tiger prey base. �This is a good move but all the concerns will have to be addressed before we can relocate the tiger,� he said.

As per the latest count, the number of tigers in the wild in India has grown to 2,967, a 33 per cent rise over four years � a big addition of 741 tigers from the count of 2,226 in 2014 � but tigers have vanished from three reserves, including Buxa in West Bengal.

Despite the steady rising counts, conservationists and wildlife scientists have warned that habitat loss, development pressures, and fragmentation of safe corridors between habitats continue to pose serious threats to tigers at several sites.

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