The curious case of two missing tiger cubs in Corbertt Tiger Reserve has got foresters worried over whether the fire caught them or are they lost.
The four-month-old cubs have not been sighted for the last one month in the Corbett where over 300 hectares were lost in forest fire. The state has lost 3466 hectares to infernos in the last four months.
“The mother tigress is very much there. There’s possibility that the cubs might have been affected by fire,” said a highly placed source based in Corbett .
Sameer Sinha, the director of Corbett, rejected the claim. “The cubs are very small and tiger mothers are very shy. We are monitoring the region,” he said.
Deputy director of Corbett Saket Badola said the cubs aren’t seen anywhere. “We know that the cubs aren’t visible in the area, but threat from fire is definitely not possible”.
“That zone (Dhikla) hasn’t reported even a single fire incident this season. My staff said the tigress is taking its kill inside deep forest, which indicates the presence of cubs,” he said.
The survival rate of tiger cubs (below 1.5 years) is not 100 % due to environmental and other challenges. That’s one of the prominent reasons why tigers above 1.5 years of age are counted during the All India Tiger Estimation.
“The survival rate of tiger cubs is hardly 40% ,” YV Jhala, tiger expert at Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India, had said .
Team to protect wildlife from fires
Corbett management has deployed a team of five people with veterinary doctors at Ramnagar to provide emergency medication to wild animals. Besides Corbett, the team will support forest divisions of Ramnagar, Lansdowne, Haldwani, Terai east, Terai west and Terai central. The management has also released an emergency contact 18001804033 for locals so that they could directly contact the team for help.