Good news from Panna in new year: tiger count up from zero to 23

TigerThe relocation of tigers to Panna began in 2009. archive

From zero tigers in early 2009, the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh now faces a problem of plenty. The number of tigers at the reserve was 23 at last count, including the five that were initially shifted from other reserves.

The park authorities are now worried about a skewed sex ratio because males far outnumber the females. According to R S Murthy, director, Panna Tiger Reserve, two tigresses will soon be shifted from other reserves to improve the ratio. Moreover, some of the males may be shifted out of Panna to other reserves, although the dates are yet to be finalised.

Meanwhile, the authorities are yet to determine the sex of seven cubs born recently.

When the relocation programme began in 2009, many doubts were raised about its success. Four years later, the exercise is being seen as the most successful experiment ever.

Of the founder population, four were females (T1, T2, T4, T5) and one male (T3). Nine of their progeny are males and two females. Two males from the first litter of T1 have already established their territories in the park, while T2 and T4 gave birth to their third litter recently. Efforts to collar P 412, P 421 and P 422 have not succeeded because the cats are underage.

Meanwhile, the condition of P 212, the tiger that was bitten by a rabid dog, is stable. The tiger has completed its dose of anti-rabies shots, but it is still being monitored.

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