Tracking the tiger

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Tracking the tiger

After a portion of the retaining wall of the tiger enclosure collapsed on Friday, reports of the big cats being at large created a scare. However, zoo authorities have confirmed their presence in the space

It was high drama on Friday as rumours suddenly started spreading of tigers of Vandalur zoo being at large, after a portion of a retaining wall collapsed.

However, on Saturday, zoo authorities said they had sighted Vidya, the two-year-old Royal Bengal tigress, within her enclosure. Four other big cats, which were also housed in the enclosure, were safely retrieved and shifted to other quarters. 

A team of animal keepers along with the zoo veterinarian are attempting to tranquilise Vidya, and transfer her to safety.

The animal reportedly could not be seen in the enclosed space since Friday, when a portion of the retaining wall behind the enclosure caved in following heavy rains. 

Zoo authorities said the broken retaining wall had left an open space that the tigers could pass through to other areas of the zoo. They immediately erected a chain link fence to cover the open portion. The four other tigers were back in the enclosure by evening, but Vidya could not be spotted.

In order to confirm the animal’s presence within the enclosure, the authorities left pieces of beef there on Friday evening. On Saturday morning, the authorities ascertained that the meat left in the open had been eaten by the tigress. They also spotted the animal’s pugmarks in the enclosure.

As the place was overrun by wild growth, sighting the animal had become a little difficult. Efforts were on to clear the bushes and tranquilise the animal, they said. 

K.S.S.V.P. Reddy, zoo director, said: “Since we put up the chain link fence within a couple of hours, we were able to ensure the animal did not stray into the open area of the zoo premises. There is no need for any panic. We allowed visitors to the zoo on Saturday.”

Zoo authorities said they would set up an automatic trap cage for the animal, inside the enclosure, on Sunday.

Once she was back in the animal house, work on rebuilding the retaining wall would be taken up, Mr. Reddy said.

Vidya is the offspring of a white tigress and a normal tiger.