On Tuesday, the Gorewada Rescue Centre near Nagpur in Maharashtra sent the tiger Sultan to its new home at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in Mumbai’s Borivali, Loksatta reported.
With the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) giving its nod for Sultan’s relocation, authorities hope that the big cat’s arrival would stop the dwindling of tiger numbers at SGNP.
Who is the tiger Sultan, and why is he important for Sanjay Gandhi National Park?
Sultan was captured by the authorities at Brahmapuri in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district last year after it killed two villagers. He had since been kept at the Gorewada Rescue Centre.
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) currently has five tigers– 1 male and 4 females. Of the four females, one is beyond reproductive age, and the Park has been on the lookout for a mating partner for the remaining three. SGNP authorities subsequently sought the transfer of a male tiger from the Gorewada Centre.
Other than Sultan, the Gorewada Centre was also home to Rajkumar, who was in the news in 2017 after he entered a wedding area at Tumsar in Maharashtra. The video of the incident went viral.
There was a difference of opinion between the Maharashtra Zoo Authority and the Gorewada Centre on which tiger should be sent to the SGNP.
Finally, after the CZA approved the transfer to SGNP on December 12, the authorities decided to send Sultan after he was examined by SGNP officials.
Earlier in May, the SGNP had lost a 12-year-old male tiger Yash who was suffering from a rare form of cancer.
The SGNP, which is spread over some 100 square km, is home to various flora and fauna. It is flanked by the Mumbai suburbs of Borivali, Goregaon, Malad, Kandivali, Dahisar on the western side, Bhandup and Mulund on the eastern side, Aarey Milk Colony and IIT Bombay to the south, and Thane to the north.
It has the distinction of being the largest tropical forest anywhere in the world to be completely surrounded by urban sprawl. It is also one of the world’s most visited parks, receiving over 2 million visitors in a year.
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