Mumbai: Sultan reaches his new home in Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Updated: 27 December, 2019 07:38 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Five-year-old tiger procured from Gorewada Rescue Centre to breed with three tigresses and stop the dwindling number of big cats at SGNP

Sultan is currently in a tiger cage at SGNP
Sultan is currently in a tiger cage at SGNP

Sultan — the captive tiger from Gorewada zoo in Nagpur finally reached his new home at Sanjay Gandhi National Park on Thursday morning after a 48-hour long journey. Confirming the development, Range forest officer and superintendent of the Tiger and Lion safari at SGNP, Vijay Barabde said, "Sultan (C1), the tiger is approximately five years old and was transferred from Gorewada (Nagpur) Rescue Centre to SGNP on December 26."

He has been brought to SGNP to breed the three tigresses (Bijlee and Mastani both 9 years old and Laxmi, 10). The breeding programme will be undertaken at a later stage, once he settles down in the new environment. The transportation was done by the SGNP rescue team under the guidance of RFO Barabde, Dr Shailesh Pethe, veterinary officer of SGNP. Speaking to mid-day Dr Shailesh Pethe said, "Presently, Sultan has been kept in the tiger cage at SGNP. It is worth mentioning that during the entire journey of around 800 km, the animal was not tranquillised even once."

At present SGNP has five captive Royal Bengal tigers, which include Basanti who is the oldest (18), Bijlee and Mastani (9), Laxmi (10) and Anand (10). In July 2016, Bijlee (TF-1) and Mastani (TF-2) were brought to SGNP from Pench National Park of Madhya Pradesh with the aim of increasing the captive tiger population. In 2017, a 12-year-old Royal Bengal tiger named Yash mated with Bijlee, but she failed to conceive. Soon, Yash passed away at SGNP while undergoing treatment for cancer.

Sources said the SGNP administration has now pinned their hopes on Sultan to stop the dwindling tiger numbers at the park. SGNP is one of the highest visited national parks in the country and has a captive tiger and lion safari, which is popular among visitors. Tourists coming to the park are taken in minibuses for the safari where the captive tigers are released in a huge fenced area.

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First Published: 27 December, 2019 07:30 IST

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