Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Ranthambore’s tiger T-24 aka Ustad living a refugee life at Sajjangarh

Nearly a year-and-a-half after "unlawful" translocation, Ranthambore's famous tiger T-24 aka Ustad is living a refugee life as Rajasthan's forest department is yet to take approval from Central Zoo Authority (CZA) for his housing at Sajjangarh Biological Park in Udaipur and decide on releasing him back in the wild.

By: PTI | Ranthambore |
December 27, 2016 8:53:59 pm
Nearly a year-and-a-half after “unlawful” translocation, Ranthambore’s famous tiger T-24 aka Ustad is living a refugee life as Rajasthan’s forest department is yet to take approval from Central Zoo Authority (CZA) for his housing at Sajjangarh Biological Park. (Source: Express Photo)

Nearly a year-and-a-half after “unlawful” translocation, Ranthambore’s famous tiger T-24 aka Ustad is living a refugee life as Rajasthan’s forest department is yet to take approval from Central Zoo Authority (CZA) for his housing at Sajjangarh Biological Park in Udaipur and decide on releasing him back in the wild. Member secretary of CZA Dr D N Singh had written to the state’s chief wildlife warden (CWLW) that Ustad was housed at Sajjangarh without obtaining approval under Wildlife Act and had asked to submit a compliance report regarding proper upkeep and management of Ustad, and also on decision taken regarding housing him at Sajjangarh.

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“Amid National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) findings that Ustad was not a man-eater and was translocated unlawfully, whether he will be translocated back to the wild or will be kept in enclosure for display at Sajjangarh is still a question. “We have not taken any decision on Ustad’s translocation or keeping him at Sajjangarh yet. It is not in the display unit so CZA doesn’t come in picture,” chief wildlife warden (CWLW), G V Reddy said.

NTCA cannot take final decision, CWLW too has its say, he said. Moreover, Sajjangarh Biological Park is yet to submit a compliance report on 22 points observed by the CZA team for availing small category zoo status for the park.

The 22 points include providing adequate shade to Ustad with immediate effect. Renewal of recognition of the park beyond January 31, 2016 was subjected to fulfilment of compliance report to CZA.

“We will take final decision following the health report, said chief wildlife warden (CWLW),” Reddy said, adding that he doesn’t know about the compliance report. Asked when a final decision will be taken on Ustad, he said, “We will decide on the matter in next three-four months.”

Wildlife activists, on the other hand, said that NTCA had declared Ustad’s translocation unlawful so state forest department has no basis to take CZA approval for his display in enclosure at Sajjangarh zoo. “He is neither in wild nor on public display at Sajjangarh zoo. He is in complete captivity. NTCA had declared the translocation unlawful and said that he was not man eater,” claimed wildlife activist Ajay Dubey.

Forest department is in catch-22 situation as officials do not have basis to seek approval from CZA. “Even if they translocate Ustad in the wild, CZA consent has to be taken. We have come to know that state government wants to translocate Ustad in Kumbhalgarh forest,” Dubey said.

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