Dona (right) with her mother Shanti at Tata Steel Zoological Park in Jamshedpur on Wednesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Tata Steel Zoological Park in Jamshedpur may have found a potential boyfriend for Dona, the resident Royal Bengal Tiger princess.
Born on April 16, 2012, Dona is too young for dating even in these precocious times, but Tata zoo believes in being ready.
Kailash, a four-year-old male white tiger is arriving on March 2, Founder’s Day eve, from Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park Tirupati Andhra Pradesh, on an exchange basis, the terms of which have been approved by Central Zoo Authority (CZA).
“Kailash apart, the Tirupati zoo is giving us three pairs of star tortoises, two pairs of porcupines and a pair of grey jungle fowls. On our part, we are giving them a pair of mandrills under the exchange,” said Tata Steel Zoological Society managing committee member Rajnish Kumar.
A five-member team from Tirupati zoo led by its veterinary officer Naveen Kumar will bring the tiger, tortoises, porcupines and fowls by road and return with the colourful mandrill pair.
Kailash will be the second mutant tiger at Tata zoo. “In 2010, we brought Reeta, a female white tiger from Aurangabad zoo. She breathed her last in 2012 owing to old-age complications,” Kumar said.
Whether or not Kailash gets to be the lucky beau of Dona is a little premature.
For one, she is only 22-months-old now and will be ready to mate only by November 2015, while Kailash at four, is ready for a girl. Male tigers start mating at four while tigresses are mature at three-and-half years. Tigresses normally have a 105-day gestation and give birth to three-four cubs at a time.
Secondly, Dona is Shanti’s daughter, so fireworks are wired in her genes.
Shanti initially loathed the good-natured Raghav, who eventually went on to woo her and become Dona’s dad. But during the courtship period, Raghav had to put up with a lot of Shanti’s feline temper tantrums, including snarls and scratches.
“We haven’t forgotten how 12-year-old Shanti angrily reacted when six-year-old Raghav tried to come too close to her in November 2010. Cupid finally struck the following year in July. We may find ourselves in a similar situation in 2015,” a Tata zoo source added.
And last but not the least, Dona is an Aries. It means she is equally romantic and strong-minded. If she fancies the tall, fair and handsome Kailash, she’ll make her feelings known in a jiffy, once she’s old enough.
But if Kailash isn’t her type, she’ll snub him outright. No confusion for our fiery little Arian.
Kailash will be quarantined for 15 days in one of the five cells inside the tiger enclosure. After this, visitors can see him.
For starters, he will be let out only when Shanti, Raghav and Dona are inside their respective cells. Too much familiarity with prospective in-laws too soon isn’t a good idea, even among wildlife royalty.