Millennium Post

Royal bengal tigers to be released in open at Bengal Safari Park

Kolkata: People visiting the Bengal Safari Park in Siliguri during the Durga Puja will get the opportunity to behold something special as two Royal Bengal tigers will be released in the open on October 1.

State Forest minister Bratya Basu will be in North Bengal to officially release Rika and Kika. It was Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who had named these tiger cubs in September last year.

Shila, the female Royal Bengal tiger at the park, had given birth to three cubs in May last year. One of the three named Ika had died a few months back. The cubs since its birth were kept in a separate enclosure away from public view. The cubs are now nearly one-and-half-months-old and the park authorities feel that the time is ripe to release them in the open so that people moving in vehicles can enjoy a tiger safari.

"We are now conducting trial by releasing the two tigresses in the open so that they adjust quickly to the environment of the Safari," said a senior official of Bengal Safari Park.

The park, that is spread over an area of 290 hectares and is on the fringes of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, has four tigers at present –three female and one male. Apart from Rika and Kika — there are two adult ones are Sheela and Vivan. Earlier, a male tiger, Snehasis, was sent to the Alipore Zoo to help captive breeding on March 13.

There are also two leopards, a one-horn rhino, two Himalayan black bear, elephants, six gharials (fish-eating crocodiles), deer and an aviary of various species of birds.

As of now, tiger and Himalayan black bear safari and elephant safari are available for tourists. State Tourism minister Goutam Deb and North Bengal Development minister Rabindranath Ghosh will also attend the release programme on October 1.

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