The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has approved the introduction of tigers in West Bengal's Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) from Assam, officials said on Monday.
"The technical committee of NTCA has approved the relocation and they may take 10 to 15 days to complete the process. The state government has approved it in principle," Bengal Chief Wildlife Warden Pradeep Vyas told IANS.
Tapping into the scientific and management skills gained from the successful tiger relocation exercise at Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, wildlife experts and forest officials have proposed introduction of six big cats in BTR from the northeast Indian state.
Fringed by the forests of Bhutan and Assam, Buxa in north Bengal has not reported consistent sighting of tigers in nearly three decades.
The tiger introduction plan involves habitat improvement, prey augmentation and working with local stakeholders to mitigate possible human-tiger conflicts.
According to WII scientist K. Ramesh, who was involved in the Panna Tiger Recovery programme and in other tiger recovery efforts in the country and in Cambodia, Buxa reserve looks good in terms of habitat.
"Now the ball lies with the state government," Ramesh said.
Buxa Tiger Reserve, spanning 760.87 sq km, is situated in Alipurduar Sub-division of Jalpaiguri District, Bengal and is part of the Terai-Dooars ecosystem.
Because of the similarity in climate conditions and genetics, tigers from Assam were selected.
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