Armori tigress shifted to Chaprala wildlife sanctuary, to be released today

By Times Of India on 29 Aug 2017
Nagpur: Fifteen days after it was captured from Armori in Wadsa Division of Gadchiroli, the three-year-old problem tigress was shifted to 134 sqkm Chaprala Wildlife Sanctuary, 225 km from here, late on Monday evening.

Mukul Trivedi, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) chief conservator of forests (CCF) & field director, said, "It is raining heavily in the district and, hence, we have decided to release the tigress early on Tuesday morning. This will help the animal tread its path and it also be convenient for the tracking team to monitor the tigress."

Earlier on Monday morning, assistant professor with Gorewada Wildlife Research & Training Centre, Dr Vinod Dhoot, certified the tigress to be fit and healthy for release. Wildlife vet with TATR, Dr Ravikant Khobragade, radio-collared the tigress after police constable and sharp shooter Ajay Marathe tranquillized it. Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) divisional manager, Nandkishore Kale, and assistant manager SV Madbhushi were present to monitor the situation.

Interestingly, the entire team of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) including tiger expert Bilal Habib, who is working on radio collaring project for tigers in Tadoba and its landscape, were conspicuous by their absence.

Trivedi said the collar is new lying with the Brahmapuri division. "We chose the collar whose battery had more life," he said.

The Armori tigress killed two villagers and injured one person in four months from April to July. Amid public and political pressure, the tigress was captured and shifted to Gorewada Rescue Centre on August 13. A state level committee met on August 19 and recommended to release the tigress at the earliest. According to the committee, the tigress was not a man-eater and did not stalk humans.

However, wildlife experts have sounded a note of caution and are apprehensive about successful release of the tigress in Chaprala, which has poor prey base. There are six big villages inside the sanctuary and 16 villages surrounding the sanctuary, and there is huge disturbance.

On November 4, when a problem tigress was captured from Brahmapuri released in Chaprala, it moved out the same night and its whereabouts are still not known.

No staff has physically sighted the tigress in the last 10 months.