About 27 tigers who have made a home in the sugarcane fields in the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Uttar Pradesh, will now be relocated to the newly-notified Ranipur Tiger Reserve (RTR) in Chitrakoot.
These big cats, known as ‘sugarcane tigers’ in the local parlance, have emerged as a threat to the local population that lives on the outskirts of the PTR.
Forest officials said that RTR, the fourth in Uttar Pradesh, does not have any population of resident tigers.
It only boasts of the occasional presence of a few ‘transit big cats’ that come and go from the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh.
Translocation aims at providing protection to the ‘sugarcane tigers’ of Pilibhit and Lakhimpur Kheri and ensuring the population of the resident tigers at Ranipur reserve.
The state’s rincipal chief conservator of forest (project tiger), Sunil Chaudhary, said” “I will soon be visiting Ranipur to analyse the ground status of the ‘sugarcane tigers’ to give shape to the translocation project.”
He said that unlike the big cats at a reserve, ‘sugarcane tigers’ stay amid unguarded conditions in cropped fields.
They do face threats of poaching or being injured by barbed wire as well as razor wire fencing done by the farmers at the periphery of their agricultural fields.
These may protect the crops but pose serious threats to the big cats.
“In such a situation, the timely and safe translocation is the need of the hour,” Chaudhary said.
He added that before releasing the ‘sugarcane tigers’ of the Terai region in the Ranipur reserve, it would be preferable to keep them in rewilding enclosures for a specific duration.
“A detailed project report will be filed to the UP government soon in this regard,” he said.