Raj govt asked to explain ‘illegal housing’ of T-24

Jaipur: The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has sought a report from the Rajasthan government on alleged illegal housing of Ranthambore T-24, popularly known as ‘Ustad‘, in a Udaipur zoo nearly two-and-half years after it was moved there.
CZA member secretary DN Singh has written to the chief wildlife warden of Rajasthan seeking a report in this regard. According to the letter, Singh asked the state administration to assess the big cat and ascertain possibilities of releasing it back into the wild.

“If found unfit to be released and if the zoo operator decides to house it in the zoo, then it (the operator) should seek necessary permission from the CZA,” the letter said.

When TOI ed chief wildlife warden GV Reddy, he said, “I am not aware of CZA‘s letter, I have to go through it first. The tiger shifting was done almost two years ago and state wildlife department has also submitted it‘s report to NTCA.”

The CZA shot a letter to state government after receiving series of complaints over the alleged illegal housing of Ustad. In the letter it‘s mentioned, if state forest department decides to house the tiger in the Sajjangarh biological park, Udaipur, it shall be ensured to provide housing, upkeep and veterinary care of the tiger as per standard and norms prescribed by the CZA.

Rahul Bhatnagar, Chief Conservator of Forests, Udaipur, said, ” The enclosure where Ustaad is kept is quite a large one sprawling in a hectare. The facilities and sanitation are up to the mark. We have ensured diet is provided as per Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) norms.”

The CZA took cognizance after wildlife activists raised objections over the alleged illegal translocation and housing of the tiger in the Udaipur Zoo, claiming it was done without taking necessary permission from the CZA and National Tiger Conservation Authority and has forced Ustad to live like a ‘refugee.‘

On May 16, 2015 , the tiger was banished from Ranthambore National Park and put in captivity at the Sajjangarh Biological Park in Udaipur. T-24 was one of the three cubs born to the tigress known as Lahpur-Nagdi female and a male tiger called Jhumaroo.

He is a direct descendent of Machhli, the world‘s most famous big cat . The three cubs T-23, T-24 and T-25 grew up in the Lahpur Nagdi area before dispersing to establish their own territories. When in 2010 Tiger-12 was translocated to Sariska, Ustad took over his territory and became the dominant male of the Sultanpur-Phoota Kot area.

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