Sources: Gujarat is planning to set up its first tiger safari park
Gujarat, the only abode of Asiatic lions, will soon have an ambush of tigers boosting its pride
Gujarat, the only abode of Asiatic lions, will soon have an ambush of tigers boosting its pride. Three decades after a tiger was sighted on the outskirts of Dang, the state forest department is setting up a tiger safari park in Samghan range near Saputara.
Gujarat is the only western state without the presence of tigers. However, now, with the safari park being planned, the state will have eight zoo-bred tigers including four cubs.
In February 2019, a tiger had strayed into Mahisagar district from Madhya Pradesh, trekking 300 km over a course of two years. The excitement around this rare event was short-lived as the animal died of starvation a fortnight after it was captured on camera.
A couple of months before this tiger was spotted, in November 2018, the forest advisory committee had given its go-ahead for an 85-hectare tiger safari park at Tilakwada in Narmada district. However, the project was shelved.
A senior forest official said, "Initially, the plan was to construct the park at Tilakwada, 25km from the Statue of Unity. Later, they decided instead to set up a zoological park with exotic animals from across the globe to boost tourism at the site. Hence, the safari park idea was dropped."
He added, "Meanwhile, the site at Dang was approved for a leopard safari park. But the authorities changed their mind and revived the plan for the tiger safari park."
In the latest proposal, 28.96 hectares of land have been earmarked in Jhakhana and Jobari villages in Ahwa-Dangs. A consultant will be appointed to draw up the project plan that envisions animal enclosures, veterinary facilities and amenities for tourists.
The department also plans to have an enclosure for leopards, a paddock for herbivores and an aviary at the tiger safari park which will be a four-hour drive from Kevadia. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has already approved the plan for the same. A go-ahead for the tiger safari is pending, said sources.
Chief conservator of forest, Maniswara Raja, who is also in charge of the park, said, "We are at the initial stage of the plan. We will bring zoo-bred animals to the tiger safari park along the lines of the lion safari park in Devaliya. The tourists will be permitted to use open jeeps for the excursion."
Sources in the forest department said that they plan to have two sets each of a tiger, a tigress and her cubs. These animals will be brought to the park in exchange for other animals.