Wild tiger 'looking for love' sneaks into zoo
The male tiger, aged between seven and eight, entered the Nandankanan Zoo on Monday night, shutting down the white tiger safari area and causing panic among the locals.
A zoo official told the Deccan Herald: "The white tiger safari will remain closed for safety reasons for the next few days. Hope all will cooperate with us. However, the rest of the zoo and zoological park will remain open for visitors and tourists."
The tiger had been in the area for a few days, leaving local villagers rather unsettled. it is thought to have been particularly interested in the enclosure of Sara, a tigress, indicating it could be looking for a mate.
The zoo official added: "The tiger perhaps was looking for an opportunity to enter the tiger safari. Just after midnight on Monday, it sneaked into the safari through the emergency door. The door was shut down thereafter. We watched the movement of the animal through a CCTV camera installed specially for this operation."
Zoo authorities are now consulting with wildlife staff from the state forest department on whether the tiger should stay permanently at the zoo, or be released back into the wild.
According to the BBC, Orissa chief wildlife warden JD Sharme said that putting a radio collar on it would "enable us to track the feline once it is restored to its original habitat and its movement can be monitored".
But, the news site reports, some senior zoo officials and activists want it to stay and breed.
Wildlife activist Subhendu Mallick said: "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 programme at the park."
The zoo is currently home to 24 tigers.
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