Challenges of Translocating the Big Cats
- Today, a modified passenger B-747 Jumbo Jet will take off from Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek, Namibia, for Jaipur. On board will be eight Namibian wild cheetahs, five females and three males.
- in the 1960s the trend of moving wild animals to new locations for conservation began. These animals require to settle down and survive in their new locations in the wild. That poses a host of different challenges.
Where the translocations made earlier?
- Rhinos were shifted from Assam’s Pobitora to Dudhwa in Uttar Pradesh in 1984.
- More recently, Kaziranga rhinos have been translocated to Manas within the state to build a new population.
- The success stories that made bigger headlines involved tigers. Two new populations were built through translocation in Sariska (Rajasthan) and Panna (Madhya Pradesh) where the big cat went locally extinct due to poaching.
What are those challenges?
- Inbreeding Depression – It is often difficult to find genetically diverse animals, particularly for building a new population, when the source population itself is closely related.
- Another major challenge in translocating animals is to factor in their homing instinct. Most animals, from snails and frogs to birds and cats, have an uncanny ability to sense direction and, if displaced, find their way back.
- There is one more challenge of securing the habitat before the translocated animals are released.
- To overcome this challenge the authorities can put the animal in an enclosure, a soft release at the new location, and allow it time to settle down.
- The other remedy is to select sub-adult animals for translocation. Being at dispersal age and still looking to establish its own territory, young cats have a higher chance of accepting a new area.
Source The Indian Express