SGNP's new Sultan sets out from Nagpur, expected to arrive to Mumbai today

Updated: Dec 26, 2019, 07:41 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Four-year-old tiger expected to arrive in Mumbai today; park pins hopes on latest import to increase its captive tiger population

The Wildlife Rescue Ambulance in which Sultan is being brought
The Wildlife Rescue Ambulance in which Sultan is being brought

Sanjay Gandhi National Park's (SGNP) wait to increase its captive tiger population will finally end as park officials set out on the 800-km journey from Nagpur to Mumbai with male tiger Sultan on Tuesday. The team is expected to reach Mumbai on Thursday.

Nagpur's Gorewada Zoo is 828 km from SGNP and ordinarily, the journey can be completed in 15 to 18 hours depending on traffic. However, since Sultan is coming with the team, the vehicle has to be driven very slowly, resulting in almost double the travel time.

The most challenging task for the team was choosing the best possible route and deciding on proper halts, keeping in mind that a tiger would be travelling with them.

SGNP's Veterinary officer, Dr. Shailesh Pethe told mid-day, "We left from Nagpur with Sultan last night. We should reach Mumbai on Thursday. We halt at regular intervals and during the longer halts, we give the tiger food and water. We are monitoring his health closely."

The team halts after every 200-300 kilometres. Dr. Pethe along with Vijay Barabde, Range Forest Officer of Tiger and Lion Safari and in-charge of the Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, travel in another vehicle ahead of the vehicle that is carrying Sultan.

SGNP, one of the most-visited national parks in the country, has a captive tiger and lion safari. Visitors are taken on the safari in minibuses, while the big cats are housed in huge, fenced areas.

At present, there are five captive Royal Bengal Tigers at SGNP, which includes Basanti, the oldest tiger at 18 years, Bijlee and Mastani, aged eight, Laxmi, 9, and Anand, 10.

Four-year-old Sultan's official name is C-1. He was born to Tigress T-1 from the Brahmapuri Forest Divison area near Nagpur. He was captured on July 12, 2018 from the Sindevahi Range after two humans were killed in the area in June that year.

Bijlee and Mastani, TF-1 and TF-2 respectively, were brought to SGNP from Pench to increase the tiger population. In 2017, tiger Yash has mated with Bijlee but she failed to conceive. After Yash's death due to cancer earlier this year, park officials are pinning their hopes on Sultan.

5
No. of captive tigers SGNP has

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