Goose Loves Rescuer
March 12, 2013
In 2009, a
Bengal tiger cub was rescued from India's Dhaba forest range, left helpless
after the disappearance of its mother. Over the next few years, keepers at the
Bor Wildlife Sanctuary raised the orphan, named Bhangaram, to adulthood in
hopes of one day releasing him back into the wild.
But, as it turns out,
not only was the tiger out of the jungle, the jungle seemed to be out of it.
Staff at the
wildlife sanctuary recently released a live goat into the now full-grown
male tiger's enclosure as a way of triggering its
predatory instincts. However, as opposed attacking the helpless animal, the
unusually docile tiger did quite the opposite.
Times of India:
[Keepers had] hoped the beast would make a quick
kill. To their astonishment and horror, the tiger instead decided to make
friends with its intended meal. For two days, the tiger did not kill the goat
despite being hungry. Instead it played with it; at one point even playfully
dumping it in an artificial waterhole. Finally, the goat was shifted out and the
tiger was given beef to eat.
Although the thought of a normally ferocious
tiger 'befriending' its intended meal might seem like an adorable turn for the
predator, conservationists say there is nothing cute about the big cat's
unwillingness to kill. In fact, Bhangaram's temperate behavior may mean he will
never be reintroduced to the wild where
tiger numbers are in decline.
"I fear the male tiger is not fit for
says veteran conservationist MS Chouhan.
Since the early 1970s, the
Indian government has established
wildlife sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers in hopes preserving Bengal
driven to near extinction from poaching and other conflicts with humans.
But, as conservationists have learned, when young cubs are rescued after the
loss of their mother, they often lack the hunting skills only she can teach
Sadly, even once rescued tigers are returned to the wild, they are
more prone to the same violent run-ins with humans that may have befallen their
parent. Tiger experts say that animals which have lived in captivity are
more likely to prey on cattle, which in turn puts them at risk of being
killed by farmers. In other words, the loss of even a single tiger can have
ramifications lasting for generations.
Despite these challenges,
conservationists have reported that the number of tigers in India has
increased by over 15 percent in recent years. All told, however, tiger
populations throughout the world have
dropped 96.8 percent over the last two decades from poaching and habitat
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