Selective breeding of tigers will soon be underway in Siliguri’s Bengal Safari Park.
The state Forest department, with its novel initiative, will rehabilitate tigers from different sources – Alipore Zoological Garden, Nandankanan Zoo of Odisha, Jharkhali of Sundarbans and Dakshin Khayerbari of Dooars – during the mating season for producing healthy and beautiful tigers.
The big cats have been among principal attractions in Bengal for tourists. The Royal Bengal Tiger of Sundarbans generally thrives in mangroves and deciduous forests, as marshy swamps and grasslands are ideal for tigers to hide in and to prey for food.
Royal Bengal tigers are purely carnivorous and thrive on small or medium-sized animals for their day to day diet.
However, after a certain point of time when they are unable to hunt for themselves, they become man eaters, experts say.
It is still a mystery to environmentalists how these tigers in Sunderbans thrive on salt water. This is a living proof of the adaptation theory of the ecosystem.
More than three fourths of Royal Bengal tigers in eastern India can be found in the marshy delta of the Sunderbans, which have been notified as a world heritage site by the UNESCO.
“The intension is to create a zone in the Bengal Safari Park where healthy mating can occur. We have already brought four tigers in Alipore zoo from Nandankanan zoo. Those four tigers will be brought to Siliguri. Some other tigers will be brought from Jharkhali and Dooars,” said a Forest department source.
Meanwhile, Director of the Bengal Safari Park Arun Mukherjee said that night shelters, pavilions and gardens will be created for the tigers. Artificial hills and streams of water will also be created to give the entire park a different look. Visitors would be able to watch tigers from a separate enclosure. The hospital for injured tigers is almost ready and has adequate doctors.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated the Bengal Safari Park in January this year. Bengal, with a variety of forest types, is rich in terms of wildlife. North Bengal flood plains are inhabited by many wild animals like tiger, common leopard, clouded leopard, rhino, Himalayan black bear, sloth bear, gaur, sambar, barking deer, spotted deer, wild boar and Rhesus Monkey.
Different types of small cats and civets, crocodile, ghariyal, jungle fowls and a large number of terrestrial and water birds are found as well.
North Bengal Wild Animals Park, Siliguri is spread across 297 hectares. The Park has been developed in its natural habitat of Sal and associated species.