Pradeep Pattanayak

If everything happens as planned, Odisha’s Nandankanan zoo could be the first such zoo that would pioneer captive tiger’s re-wilding process. Director of the zoo, Manoj V Nair on Friday informed this on the occasion of International Tiger Day. 

Re-wilding of wild animals is a process wherein captive-born animals learn to survive in natural environment. 

“Soon, Nandankanan, in association with Bangalore-based National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), will conduct research on the genetic health of the zoo’s tigers. Once started, the research’s findings will arrive in six months to one year’s time. Then, we will have a report on good breeding for the re-wilding process. We have a wild tiger named ‘Nandan’ in our zoo. Our focus is to pass on his breed to more cubs so that we can release them in tiger deficient areas in our State,” informed Nair.

“If things go well, Nandankanan could be the first zoo to successfully carry out tiger re-wilding process,” Nair added. 

PCCF (Wildlife) Sashi Paul was also sanguine that the tiger population in the State will increase in the coming days. 

While celebrating International Tiger Day, the zoo authorities feted the Rakshaks of the zoo and fed chicken to big cats. 

The Odisha Postal Circle also issued special commemorative postal cover and postcard to mark the special day for which PCCF (Wildlife) Sashi Paul thanked the Department. 

Notably, the zoo has 26 tigers in total. Of them, 16 are of common breed while the numbers of black and white tiger are three and seven respectively. 

Notably, Congress leader Suresh Routray recently raised the issue of the dwindling tiger population in the State Assembly and urged the government to take steps to increase their number.