On April 3, Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve (MHTR) was elated with the sound of the roar of a tiger, that too after a period of 15 years. Yes, the reserve has become a home for a Royal Bengal Tiger, T-91 aka Mirza who strayed from Ranthambhore National Park (RNP) into the forest of Ramgarh Sanctuary which is considered unsafe due to its close proximity from villages. Mirza was tranquilized and was transported to MHTR’s Darrah Wildlife Range in a 26-hectare enclosure. The tiger is fitted with a radio collar and is likely to stay in this enclosure till a fortnight in order to acclimatize properly. The 26-hectare enclosure also has two buffaloes and two dozen Cheetals (Spotted Deer) for T-91 to prey on. According to reports, at around 12:48 PM on April 3, the first roar of Mirza was heard in the forest that eventually brightened the atmosphere of the reserve.
As per the report, Mirza will be released to an 80-square km forest area, bounded by a 32-km-long stone wall and 15-km chain-link fencing after his acclimatization period. A team of ten personnel of Special Protection Task Force of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve and 8 of the wildlife department has been deployed for the security of T-91. It has to be noted that this is the first relocation of a tiger in Indian forest reserves in order to decongest a wildlife habitat (Ranthambhore National Park). The reserve has been in news for some time due to frequent tiger territorial fights. Before this, tigers were relocated to repopulate dying reserves like Sariska (Rajasthan) in 2004 and Panna (Madhya Pradesh) in 2010. In 2017, National Tiger Conservation Authority approved the relocation of three tigers – one male and two females from Ranthambhore to MHTR. The introduction of the tiger in the reserve is being seen as a prospect for ecotourism and creation of employment for locals.