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Plea for tiger breeding

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 11.01.11
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Alipurduar, Jan. 10: The forest department has written to the Central Zoo Authority for permission to breed tigers and leopards in captivity at all rescue centres and zoos across the state.

Despite the CZA banning captive breeding in 2008, leopard cubs were born in a number of rescue centres across north Bengal in the past two years. A few months ago, a leopard was born at Rasikbeel Eco Park in Cooch Behar.

Now, there are eight tigers in South Khayerbari rescue centre of which seven had been seized from different circus troupes and one was brought from Alipore Zoo. The tiger in the Calcutta zoo was injured by a shark in the Sundarban Tiger Reserve and brought to the city for treatment.

According to foresters, captive breeding will help increase the number of tigers at the rescue centre and the cubs will be able to attract a lot of visitors.

At present, there are 11 tigers in the Alipore Zoo, three in Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park in Darjeeling and two big cats at the rescue centre at Jharkhali in the Sundarbans.

Forest minister Ananta Roy said: “We have written to the Central Zoo Authority asking for permission for captive breeding of tigers and leopards. If it is allowed, then the number of animals will increase and the cubs will become a major attraction at the rescue centres.” The minister added that the forest department is waiting for a reply from the CZA.

However, according to foresters if breeding is allowed then the cubs born in captivity would have to be released in the wild.

But Animesh Bose, the co-ordinator for wildlife NGO Hnaf, said cubs born in captivity are less likely to survive in the wild. “The seven tigers at the South Khayerbari centre that were rescued from circus groups should not be allowed to breed because most of these animals were born in captivity and their cubs are less likely to adjust to the wild. Only tigers rescued from forests should be considered for captive breeding.”