Cambodia mountain to be home to Indian tigers

| | New Delhi
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Cambodia mountain to be home to Indian tigers

Saturday, 25 March 2023 | Archana Jyoti | New Delhi

Cambodia mountain to be home to Indian tigers

A technical committee comprising officials from the National Tiger Conservation of Authority (NTCA) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is on the job to advise their counterparts in Cambodia to help them execute dreams of bringing Indian big cats in their land under the world’s first ambitious translational tiger programme conceived last year.

The constitution of the panel comes following signing of a pact between India and Cambodia after later showed interest in re-introducing the biga cats in its forests where the felines became extinct about fifteen years ago.

On its part, Cambodia has already identified 90 acres of forest land at its Tatai wildlife sanctuary in the Cardamom Mountain to serve as the home for the Indian tigers whenever they arrive.

SP Yadav, Head of the NTCA told The Pioneer, “we have constituted a technical support group which is advising Cambodia to achieve certain levels of standards with respect to staffing, prey base, habitat and protection. Once these are achieved, further action will be taken.”

Yadav who played a key role in Cheetah reintroduction programme entailing shifting of the felines from Nambia and South Africal to India said that, hence,  it is too early to talk about the numbers of big cats proposed to be shifted to Cambodia.

No tiger has been spotted in Cambodian forests for the last 15 years. The last picture of a tiger was taken in the eastern highlands of Cambodia in 2007. The country is now committed to have the tigers, which is included in the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species, back to its forests.

Though Yadav was non-committal when the translocation will happen, Cambodia is pinning hopes that the tigers may arrive by the year-end, as has also been stated by Suwanna Gauntlett, founder and CEO of Wildlife Alliance, as per reports.

Officials in the Union Environment Ministry said that before the Indian big cats lands on the foreign land, it is necessary that ground and field works be done to ensure the predators are safe and get the conducive environment to settle down properly to make the translocation successful in the long- term.

The WII and NTCA officials are also advising their counterpoints in Cambodia on plugging the gaps that led to the extinction of their own big cats. The biggest challenge is to protect the tigers from snaring and illegal hunting in Cambodia which once had the world’s second-highest tiger population, they noted.

Last year, the two countries signed an MoU focusing on tiger conservation strategies and their implementation first in the Cardamom mountains in southwestern Cambodia and then in the Keo Seima Conservation Area of seasonal tropical forest in eastern Cambodia with tiger relocation plan being a major proposal.

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