More than 150 forest personnel and eight elephants are involved in a combing operation through the jungles near Sanjay-Dubri Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh’s Shahdol district—in search of three orphaned tiger cubs.
Their mother tigress T1 died of electrocution, and its carcass was found in the revenue area near Banas river in Sarvahi village near the reserve on Wednesday, marking the first death of a tiger in the state this year.
Confirming the electrocution, chief conservator of forests, Shahdol range, Prashant Jadhav said the tigress’s tail and muscles of its hind leg had burnt partly.
“The tigress also had a deep wound near its eye, which she might have got while struggling during electrocution or post electrocution,” he said.
Forest officials then launched a search for the cubs, which are said to be more than three months old.
Jadhav said the tigress was from Sanjay-Dubari Tiger Reserve, which is spread over 1,674 sq km and comprises Sanjay National Park and Dubri Sanctuary and buffer areas taken from Sidhi and Shahdol districts. Sarvahi village falls outside the area.
“We have only three elephants here. So five elephants were brought from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve and the search is going for its three cubs. Bandhavgarh’s field director Mridul Pathak, who has good experience in such operations, is leading the search operation,” he said.
Madhya Pradesh, which was once known as the tiger state, has lost the tag to Karnataka after nearly one-third of tiger deaths in the country—30 of 97—were reported from the state in 2016.
A three-year-old leopard was mowed down by a speeding train on the Kanti-Gunghati railway track in Shahdol district on Tuesday.
As per Wildlife Institute of India (WII)’s census in January 2015, the number of tigers in MP had increased from 257 in 2010 to 308 in 2015. However since January 2015, 42 tigers have died in the state.