Kailash enters the Tata zoo moat for a cool splash on Friday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Tall, fair and handsome, every girl’s dream come true.
This was the general consensus among visitors at Tata Steel Zoological Park, when they first saw white tiger Kailash on Friday morning.
Making his debut public appearance after staying confined to his quarantine cell for 27 days, the four-year-old big cat moved out cautiously to the enclosure, as Royal Bengal tigers Shanti, Raghav and their two-year-old daughter Dona, who may be Kailash’s prospective girlfriend, watched the new guest curiously.
“The big cat looks magnificent. I had seen him when he was quarantined, but watching Kailash out in the open is a different thing altogether,” said Praful Kumar, a Sonari resident who dropped in early at the zoo on Friday just to see the white tiger.
Visitors who came by noon were the lucky ones to catch a glimpse of Kailash.
For, as of now, he is only allowed in the open from 10am to noon. The white tiger is out only when his other Royal Bengal counterparts are inside their cells.
Brought from Tirupati-based Sri Venkateshwara Zoological Park on March 2 under an animal exchange programme, the new inmate seemed to have acclimatised well in the new atmosphere.
Kailash was found enjoying his time under the shade of a tree during his two hours of “freedom”. He also spent some time inside the cool comforts of the moat to protect himself from the scorching sun.
“It will take time before he is allowed to mix with Shanti, Raghav and Dona. Releasing the big cats together will complicate matters. The three may attack the new guest,” said a caretaker of Tata zoo.
Son of tiger couple Randheer and Haseena, Kailash did show some interest in Dona, his prospective two-year-old mate. The big cat was spotted sneaking into Dona’s cell, but slipped out once her parents roared.
Born on April 16, 2012, Dona may be too young for dating even in these precocious times, but Tata zoo believes in being ready.
Regarding Kailash’s health, zoo vet Manik Palit seemed more than satisfied.
“Kailash is in good health. He went through a thorough medical check up when he was quarantined. He seems to have acclimatised well, but we will release Kailash for only a limited period (10am to noon) now,” Palit told The Telegraph, adding the four-year-old male had 7kg beef, vitamin AD3 and anti-stress syrup every day. Water is also being sprayed on Kailash three times a day to keep him cool.
The white tiger was made available under an exchange programme approved by the Central Zoo Authority.
Besides Kailash, the Tirupati zoo also gave three pairs of star tortoises, two pairs of porcupines and a pair of grey jungle fowls.
In return, Tata zoo had to part with a pair of mandrills under the exchange.
“The porcupines have already been released for public display, while the star tortoises and jungle fowl will make their public appearances soon after their mandatory health check-up is completed by the zoo veterinary team,” said Rajnish Kumar, managing committee member of Tata Steel Zoological Society.