Three more cubs have joined the royal Bengal tiger family at the Bengal Safari Park near Siliguri.
On Saturday, state forest minister Jyotipriya Mallick, made the announcement at the park.
Rika, a tigress, gave birth to the cubs at the park a week back, he said. With these newborn cubs, there are 13 tigers in the park now.
“Tigress Rika delivered three cubs here on August 18. The female tiger and its cubs are now in a separate enclosure. Vets are closely monitoring them,” said Mallick.
In the past two months, five cubs have been born in the park. Kika, the only white tigress here, delivered two cubs in July. During delivery, the tigress was so exhausted that it fell on one of the cubs and it died on the spot. The other cub was born with complications in the lungs and died earlier this month.
According to the foresters, after the back-to-back deaths of two tiger cubs, park authorities are taking special care of the newborn animals.
They are being closely monitored by vets and zookeepers. Nobody is allowed to visit the enclosure where Rika and cubs are quarantined.
Mallick, while speaking further on the one-of-its-kind open-air zoological park of the state, said they would increase the area of the tiger open enclosure.
“As of now, it is 23 hectares and will be increased to 43 hectares. Also, we are readying infrastructure to introduce a lion safari at the park that will come up on 20 hectares. We plan to start a lion safari at the park in December,” he said.
Two lions, sources said, will be brought from the zoological parks of Tripura and Raipur.
Sources in the park said the facility is very popular among tourists and residents. In the current fiscal, around 1.26 lakh people have already visited the park while the authorities have earned Rs 3.23 crore.
The state forest department has planned to set up a full-fledged hospital for the treatment of animals at Bengal Safari Park. According to the state forest minister, the proposed hospital will have modern facilities including an operating theatre, X-ray and USG unit. A full-time vet with five nursing staff will be posted at the hospital.
The work of a snake enclosure is also in progress at the park.
The nature interpretation centre building has been recently refurbished. Also, the amphitheatre has been readied to exhibit educational films for children.
“We have readied a tree house and a five-hectare area for rhino safari. Four water ATMs have been installed for visitors. Animal attendants have received protective gear,” said an official.
As of now, work is on to build a new aviary for birds and an enclosure of Hoolock gibbons (primates). “Some new bird species and snakes will be brought to the park soon,” the official added.