Earning their stripes
Donation provides haven for Bengal tiger cubs
Four Bengal tiger cubs are to be financially supported by a UAE businessman who is determined to see them kept free from the clutches of hunters.
Real estate director Michael D’Souza has donated 5 lakh (Dhs28,000) to the programme at Pilikula Biological Park in Mangalore, India, which will care for the endangered cats.
The Dubai-based Indian national said the creatures are ruthlessly hunted for their claws, teeth and fur.
“The tiger is our [India’s] national animal and it is important that we protect them,” said D’Souza, who splits his time between Mangalore and Dubai.
He gave the tigers names, including one after his own daughter, Nisha.
“Secondly I gave them the names Amer, Akbar and Anthony, belonging to three religions in India: Hindu, Muslim and Christian,” he added, which he said symbol- ises the way animals live together peacefully.
The tigers roam freely in a 60hectare wildlife enclosure dedicated to preserving the native species of India’s Western Ghat Forests.
He added: “It’s a privilege to be from the original forests of India. There are a lot of efforts to give a good, natural environment in the zoo for the public, tourism and animals.We adopt them and provide funds to take care of those tigers.
“They are not inside the cage, there is a large area and they’re well taken care of and it’s a natural habitat for them.
“For the last five years their numbers have decreased drastically as there’s a lot of animal poachers there [in India] who want their claws, teeth and skins.”
Park director Jayaprakash Bhandary told 7DAYS the funding helps to feed and care for the cubs. They eat 8kg of meat per day when fully grown, he explained.
“Each adult eats around rupees 1,200 [Dhs85] of tiger feed per day, not including healthcare and maintenance costs,” said Bhandary.
HEALTHY FUTURE: For tiger cubs Nisha, Amer, Akbar and Anthony