Sariska experiment mooted for Panna to correct skewed sex ratio

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New Delhi, Aug 04 (UNI) Tigers of the world famous Panna Reserve are waiting for some female companions to be relocated to their habitat from outside in a repeat of the Sariska experiment.

The skewed sex ratio in this reserve in Madhya Pradesh has forced the authorities to think of bringing in tigresses from some other sanctuary.

The success of the experiment of relocation in Sariska, the first of its kind in the country and perhaps in the world, has encouraged the authorities to do similar exercise for Panna too in the interest of conservation of the threatened species.

The two tigers relocated to Sariska from Ranthambhore tiger reserve are doing fine. The relocation was necessitated after it was found about two years ago that the sanctury had lost all its tigers.

After taking certian measures for improving the habitat, two tigers a male and a female were airlifted to Sariska from Ranthambhore one on June 28 and the other about a week later.

Tiger Conservation authorities say there are plans to introduce more tigers in the sanctuary soon. They feel it would be unwise not to repeat the successful Sariska experiment in Panna too to correct the skewed sex ratio.

''The number of tigresses has been falling in Panna due to various reasons, so there is a plan to shift some females from Bandhavgarh sanctuary,'' an official of the Ministry of Environment and Forests told UNI.

Panna landscape, which covers an area of 3500 sq km and has two discrete tiger occupied areas of 787 and 187 sq km, sustains around 24 tigers.

The official said the Tiger Conservation Authority had written a letter to the Bhopal wildlife authorities about the plan to shift some tigresses to Panna.

The causes of the skewed sex ration can mainly be traced to small size of the population, Chief Wildlife Warden of Madhya Pradesh Gangopadhyay told UNI.

''If the population is big, the loss of one or two animals does not affect their companionship prospects, but in small population, the loss of male or female results in derivation soon,'' he said.

In reply to a question, he said Sariska too suffered from this problem.

He said though there were multiple causes behind the vanishing of tigers from the famous sanctuary in Rajashan, the shortage of females also contributed to the gradual depletion in population.

Bandhavgarh sanctuary has adequate number of tigresses so it can aford to part with some of them for the Panna tigers. The sanctuary, which covers an area of 2000 sq km, is estimated to have around 47 tigers. They occupy an area of 1575 sq km.

Dispersing tigers from Bandhavgarh source sustain a sporadic tiger occupancy in the district of Shahdol and Sidhi forming potential linkages through Sanjay National Park to Palamau in Jharkhand, says the Wild life Institute of India.

Total tiger population in the State of Madhya Pradesh was estimated to be around 300.

Besides Panna and Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh has several other areas which support tiger population.

One of them is Kanha which has recorded tiger presence in 3,162 sq km, supporting a population of 89 tigers. Pench is estimated to support a population of 33.

The Kanha-Pench landscape is still a contiguous forest patch of 16,000 sq km, having sporadic tiger presence recorded besides the two major source populations constituting about 7 to 12 tigers.

Satpura is also an important tiger reserve spread over an area of 12,700 sq km and having about 39 tigers.

Five other smaller tiger populations occur, one towards the north-east of the tiger reserve and the other four between Satpura Tiger Reserve and Melghat Tiger reserve in Maharashtra. These populations harbour between 9-15 tigers.

UNI NAZ AM BD1332

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