A lonely male tiger that left the jungle and entered a zoo in eastern India in search of a mate has been trapped, an official of the state-run park said on Wednesday.
“It seems to have strayed into the zoo attracted by a tigress,” said Sudarshan Panda, director of the Nandankanan Zoological Park near Bhubaneswar, capital of the eastern state of Orissa.
Panda said foresters kept a lookout for the animal, which had traveled from a protected state forest about 100km from the zoo and roamed around the facility last weekend.
Officials say the tiger roamed around the enclosure of Sara, a tigress, indicating its urge to mate.
“The tiger entered the zoo, but it walked out,” Panda said, adding that a trap was laid and the big cat was captured two days ago.
Wildlife officials are now debating whether to let the new tiger remain in the zoo or release it back into the wild after putting a radio collar on it.
“Putting a radio collar on the tiger will enable us to track the feline once it is restored to its original habitat and its movement can be monitored,” Orissa chief wildlife warden J.D. Sharme said.
However, senior zoo officials and activists want the seven-year-old big cat to remain in the zoo.
“If the male tiger is retained in the zoo, it would widen the gene pool and infuse new blood into the tiger conservation and breeding program at the park,” wildlife activist Subhendu Mallick said.