Authentic tigers

Published: Wednesday 31 May 1995

PROMISCUOUSLY cohabiting gene pools were on the verge of ensuring that tigers would never be the same again; what saved the day was the Central Zoo Authority's (CZA) new scientific action plan for breeding them in captivity. From now on, DNA mappings will be used to trace the genetic details of tigers for effective breeding. At a meeting in Orissa's Nandan Kanan ZOO, CZA members deck cled to discontinue old methods.

Nine zoos - at Mysore, Hyderabad, Madras, Patna, Guwahati, Nandan Kanan and Chandigarh - have been selected for the plan. Tigers from various forests are to be incarcerated in, these zoos and led through a DNA-mapped breeding programme. A bit of judicious spouse-swapping, and the skewed sex ratio could return to equilibrium.

The new strategy includes building a feline semen bank and, curiously, training tigers about how to comport themselves in the wild.

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