Tigresses Bijlee and Mastani to go on double date at SNGP
Bijlee and Mastani travelled 900 km to meet their mates Yash and Anand
The tigers of Sanjay Gandhi National Park have met their match — in love, that is. It has been seven months since the park authorities brought two tigresses all the way from Pench so SGNP’s tiger brothers Anand and Yash wouldn’t be lonely.
Finally, the matchmaking process is over and the park officials have decided that Yash will be released with Bijlee, while Anand will be released with Mastani. However, there is still some time to go before the big cat couples are released for mating.
A park official confirmed, “The two tigresses that were brought to SGNP from Pench are doing very well and will soon be released with the captive tigers here. As per the current plans, Bijli will be released with Yash and Mastani will be released with Anand.”
While Anand is six years old and Yash is eight, both the tigresses are aged seven years. While Bijlee (TF1) was named so because of her aggressive nature, Mastani (TF2) was named for her docile temperament.
Sources said although the tigers have not been allowed into the same enclosure with the two tigresses, they have been have been kept alongside their prospective mates to ensure that there is minimal tension and fighting when they are eventually released together.
Starting a family
Anand and Yash, along with their sister Laxmi, are the offspring of Royal Bengal tigers Palash and Basanti. Their parents, particularly Palash, were star attractions at the park but died when they were 13 years old.
The main motive behind bringing Bijlee and Mastani to Mumbai was because the authorities want to increase the population of captive tigers in order to increase the popularity of SGNP’s tiger safari.
However, mating was not possible earlier as the park’s tigers were all from the same family and in-breeding would have led to severe genetic problems among the cubs.
However, the tigresses have so far been kept in secondary enclosures. Officials had told this reporter last week that the females were yet to be released in the safari area as repairs on the iron framework were still in progress. This came as a massive disappointment for park visitors, who had hoped to see the happy tiger couple gambolling around.
Asked when the tiger pairs will be released together for mating, SGNP Director and Chief Conservator of Forest Anwar Ahmed said, “At present, our main aim is to release the tigers one by one in the primary cages, so that they get accustomed to the new area. Once they get accustomed, the decision about releasing them together will be taken.”