Wildlife & Biodiversity

60 years after they were last seen, tigers to come back to Madhya Pradesh’s Madhav National Park

Three tigers – one male and two females — will be moved to MNP in the winter during the first stage of the project

By Shuchita Jha
Published: Monday 26 September 2022
Photo: iStock

Tigers will be reintroduced in the Madhav National Park (MNP) of Madhya Pradesh more than six decades after they were last seen there, an official told Down To Earth September 26, 2022.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has given the green signal to relocate five tigers from three national parks of the state to MNP.

“We will be bringing the tigers from Panna, Bandhavgarh and Satpura National Parks to the MNP of Shivpuri. This is to ensure genetic diversity. If the need arises, we will move more individuals from forests near Bhopal where sightings of tigers are very frequent,” JS Chouhan, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), Madhya Pradesh, told DTE.

Three tigers – one male and two females — will be moved to MNP in the first stage with the stated aim of boosting tourism. MNP already has leopards.

Chouhan said the relocation was likely to happen sometime in winter and that the park was already prepared to receive the animals.

“These are wild animals and to ensure their health and well-being, it is necessary to move them from one place to another at regular intervals to promote more genetic diversity.

“The five tigers will be sourced from different national parks in the state to ensure there is no inbreeding. If the movement of the animals begins between parks, that will be an added benefit, but that is not what we are aiming for here,” he said.

There are rumours that since Ranthambore, Kuno and MNP make a triangle, the idea is to create a tiger corridor to allow the movement of tigers and hence increase their genetic diversity.

Studies say there is high inbreeding among tigers in Ranthambore and there are speculations that the move will promote their movement and widen their gene pool. The PCCF however denied that there were any plans to create a tiger corridor.

Chouhan further said there were animals like chital, chinkara, sambhar, nilgai and wild pigs that would act as prey for the tigers. The authorities will bring in more such ungulates for the animals to hunt if the need arose, he added.

“We will need to prepare three to four pre-release enclosures for the soft release of the tigers in MNP. These enclosures will be small in size and the tigers will only be kept here for one to two weeks, just to monitor their health in the initial days. They will then be released into the wild,” he said.

Chouhan added that there were no tigers in MNP since the late 1960s. Some isolated sightings had been recorded in the past, but these were animals that had wandered from Ranthambore. 

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