Nagaland's zoological park gets leopard from Assam

Last Updated: Sat, Jul 20, 2013 13:10 hrs

Guwahati, July 20 (IANS) A seven-year-old male leopard was Saturday shifted to the Nagaland Zoological Park in Dimapur from the Centre of Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) near Assam's famed Kaziranga National Park.

The Assam forest department and International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI)-run CWRC had been taking care of the leopard since 2006 when it was found in a tea garden in Assam by locals and handed over to the forest officials.

"When we get any animal at CWRC, our first choice is to look into rehabilitation back in the wild," Rathin Barman, deputy director of WTI, said.

However, according to Barman, rehabilitation is not an easy option for large carnivores as they are territorial animals and need "extensive space because the chances of conflicts are very high".

"Particularly so, if they have spent very little time in the wild before being brought under human care, as in the case of this cub," Barman said.

The authorities of the Nagaland Zoological Park are excited as the move would mean that a lone female leopard there would now have a company of the male leopard.

"We already have a female leopard and this male leopard which we received will be her mate soon. We are glad and thankful to the Assam forest department and WTI for their generous gesture," Tongpangzemba Ao, director of Nagaland Zoological Park, said.

Anjan Talukdar, senior veterinarian at CWRC, recalled the rescue of the leopard in 2006. He said it was only a few months old, shy and weak when it was rescued from a tea estate in Doomdooma in Assam's Tinsukia district and brought to CWRC.

"Now it has become a fully grown, strong, healthy and even a bit aggressive animal. It should hopefully do well in Dimapur," Talukdar said.

Sighting of leopards among other animals in tea gardens are very common in Assam. The forest department and the CWRC in particular had been running awareness campaign across the state advising people to inform forest officials if they see wild animals, particularly young ones.

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