Orphaned tiger cub Mangala to be released back into forests after rewilding training

Orphaned tiger cub Mangala to be released back into forests after rewilding training

Thodupuzha: Tiger cub Mangala, who was abandoned by its mother, will venture into the wild on Thursday. The 10-month-old cub, which is under the care of the Periyar Tiger Reserve, will be let out into the wild for the first time as part of the rewilding process (training to hunt).

The cub was found in the Mangala Devi forest region by the forest personnel on November 21, 2020. The 60-day-old female tiger cub was named Mangala. Experts reckon that the cub, which was in a frail state with paralysed legs, was probably abandoned by its mother. Though cameras were set up in the forest to trace the adult tiger, no leads were obtained.

Under the rewilding programme, the cub was trained to get accustomed to the forest and learn to survive in the wild.

The tiger cub will be released into the forest in a cage, which is 25-m long and 25-m wide. Preys will be let into the cage. The cage will be located in a forest area with big trees and water body. To prevent other animals from attacking the cub, a 10,000-sq-ft fence will be in place.

Cameras have also been set up for surveillance.

This is for the first that such a training is being given in south India. The training, under the monitoring of the forest department team, is led by Periyar Tiger Reserve deputy director Sunil Babu. It is estimated to cost around Rs 50 lakh.

Once the cub learns to hunt down preys on its own and survive in the wilderness, Mangala would be released into the deep forest of the Periyar Tiger Reserve.

Up to two years of training in a cage in the forest is needed for rewilding, as per the criteria of the National Tiger Conservation Authority.

Global Tiger Day is observed on July 29 (Thursday).

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