Radio collar stuck in Customs dept, release of tigress into Pench stalledhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/radio-collar-stuck-in-customs-dept-release-of-tigress-into-pench-stalled/

Radio collar stuck in Customs dept, release of tigress into Pench stalled

The satellite-aided radio collar, costing Rs 3.5 lakh with accessories, had reached India from Germany in February.

Refusal by the Wireless Planning Commission (WPC) under the Union Ministry of Communications and IT to allot a frequency for a radio collar has stalled the release of a tigress into Pench National Park.

The satellite-aided radio collar, costing Rs 3.5 lakh with accessories, had reached India from Germany in February. However, the importer has been unable to retrieve it from the Customs Department following the Centre’s decision to not grant any new frequencies.

The four-and-a-half year old tigress — TF1 — is one of the three orphaned siblings brought to Pench in Nagpur district from the then Bor Sanctuary (now a tiger reserve). The cubs were raised by the Forest Department in captivity and released into soft enclosures over a year ago.

After studying their behaviour, the officials found that the male — TM1 — showed familiarity with humans and was unfit for release in the wild.

TF1, on the other hand, was kept in a large enclosure (3.5 ha) and was hunting the live animals released in the enclosure. “We decided to release her in the wild first. For that, we need the radio collar to keep a watch on her movements. So, we placed an order,” said Pench Field Director M S Reddy.

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Sumit Sabharwal of A&S Creations said, “We have been told by WPS officials that no new frequencies are being granted since June 30, so we will have to wait till the new allotment starts.”