The state wildlife department suspects that the tigress in Chandrapur’s protected forest, which went missing for four days, may have been poached, or has died of other reasons.
Maharashtra forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has ordered an inquiry into the incident, while the state wildlife department has sought help from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) Shree Bhagwan said that 10-12 camera traps are being installed to locate the tigress. “In general, a tigress never goes more than half a kilometre for prey when it has one or two-month-old cubs. We are worried that it may have died, because there is no sound of the big cat or its pugmarks in the area,” Bhagwan said.
The senior forest officer, who is also the state wildlife warden, said that he had a talk with Keshav Kumar, the joint director of CBI, for his inputs in this regard. Kumar has a track record of investigating poaching cases.
Four of the tigress’ cubs were dead of starvation as of Sunday morning; they were found in the Saoli forest of Chandrapur district.
Three tiger cubs were found dead, and another died later while undergoing treatment on Sunday. The fourth cub was found near Gosikhurd canal in the Pathari forest range under the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra.
Pathari villagers who were crossing the Gosikhurd canal discovered the carcasses of the three tiger cubs. They reported the matter to the forest officials. During the search operation, the forest officials found the fourth cub roaming near the canal. It died in hospital during treatment.