A tiger and tigress were on Friday released into enclosures in Madhav National Park in Shivpuri district in Madhya Pradesh by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia in a bid to revive the big cat population in the facility, officials said.
While the tiger was captured in October last year after it strayed into the sprawling premises of the Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT) in Bhopal, the tigress that was released into MNP was brought from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, they said.
The tiger, after its capture from MANIT, was released in Satpura Tiger Reserve in October, and has been brought to MNP from STR. A plan to release another tigress did not work out as it could not be captured at Panna Tiger Reserve, these officials added.
The translocation of the two big cats took place to mark the birth anniversary of former Union Minister Madhavrao Scindia, the father of Jyotiraditya Scindia. MNP, incidentally, is named after their ancestor Madho Rao Scindia.
Chouhan and Scindia pulled a lever each to release the two big cats from their cages into the enclosures, the officials said, adding five tigers in all, comprising two males and three females, will be translocated to MNP to revive the big cat population. The tiger and tigress have been released, MNP director Uttam Sharma told PTI.
These animals, after being kept in separate enclosures for some time, will be released in the wild at MNP, which is spread over an area of 375 square kilometres, officials said. This is the third time the MP forest department is going re-introduce a tiger in a wildlife sanctuary, with successful projects of the kind having been undertaken in Panna Tiger Reserve and the Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary in Sagar, officials said.
MNP has a good prey base for big cats and the revival program was cleared by the Centre, they added. These big cats are going to be radio-collared and three teams have been formed to keep an eye on them when they will be released in the wild, the officials said.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Union Minister Scindia had said the "the roar of the big cats had fallen silent in MNP 27 years ago". Additional Principal Conservator of Forests (wildlife) Subharanjan Sen said the number of tigers was fairly good in MNP in 1970.
According to local residents and officials, no tiger has been seen in and around MNP since 2010. As per reports, tigers from Rajasthan roamed around MNP for some time in 2010-12. Wildlife experts said MNP had lost its tiger population primarily due to hunting.
Shivpuri borders Sheopur district, which houses the Kuno National Park, a new home for 20 cheetahs brought from Namibia and South Africa under the ambitious reintroduction project for the species.