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Monday, 29 April, 2002, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Rescued tigers find home in India
Royal Bengal tiger crosses a creek
India is home to the famed Royal Bengal tiger
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By Habib Beary
BBC reporter in Bangalore
line

Six tigers rescued by UK-based animal charity Born Free Foundation have found a new home at the sprawling Bannerghatta national park in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.

Born Free staff had rescued the tigers from what they said were appalling conditions at circuses and a zoo in Europe.

This is the second time in 15 years that tigers have been brought from Europe to this national park in the southern state of Karnataka for rehabilitation.

Forest officials say Karnataka, which has a major tiger and elephant sanctuary, is well known for protecting both captive and wild tigers.

A member of the Born Free Foundation said India and Africa were prime destinations for animals rescued from zoos in various parts of the world.

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Born Free Foundation Chief Executive Will Travers said the tigers were first flown from London to Madras.

Tigress with cub
Tiger conservation has had some success

From there they were brought to Bangalore in trucks.

Four tigers were rescued from circuses in Italy, another one from a zoo in Belgium and the sixth from a pet shop in Spain.

The foundation, which is engaged in rescuing captive animals, rehabilitated five tigers at the park in 1987.

The tiger welfare project of the foundation spends thousands of dollars every year on its rescue and rehabilitation projects.

Conservation

India is home to the famed "Royal Bengal" tigers and its Project Tiger has earned international fame although some tigers have in recent years been found dead in their sanctuary.

White tiger with cubs
Indian refuges protect some rare tigers

Karnataka's conservation efforts have generally been more successful.

Karnataka Wildlife Warden SK Chakrabarti said the public would not be allowed to the tiger enclosure until the big cats had settled down in their new environment.

Eleven Born Free Foundation staff including two keepers will be stationed at the park to supervise the acclimatisation of the tigers.

The Bannerghatta refuge is one of India's 89 national parks and 497 wildlife sanctuaries.

Together, these safe havens extend over an area of 156,000 sq km.

See also:

21 Jan 02 | South Asia
India launches conservation mega-plan
27 Sep 01 | Sci/Tech
India's tiger success story
05 Apr 01 | South Asia
Special tiger force in India
08 Mar 01 | South Asia
Wildlife police station in India
24 Apr 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: India
28 Feb 01 | South Asia
Indian state probes tiger death
23 Nov 00 | South Asia
India 'failing to protect tigers'
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