The two tiger cubs that were captured in Bandhavgarh National Park on Monday and shifted to enclosures are doing well, showing no adverse impact of the operation.
The young tigers – one year and nine months old each – would be under constant watch in the enclosures where they are likely to be kept for at least three months. Camera traps have been installed in the adjacent enclosures to monitor the cubs, field director of Bandhavgarh, CH Muralikrishnan, told HT. Also, usual protocols for keeping tab on their health conditions, movement, food and water necessities have been put into place, the director said.
These cubs have been involved in killing four people during the last seven months. The fresh killing was on October 24 – an incident that spurred the anger of villagers near Khitoli range of the national park. The cubs were captured and shifted to enclosures to minimize human conflict and consequent risk to human lives, principal chief conservation of forests (wildlife) Narendra Kumar had said on Monday.
Read:Two tiger cubs involved in human conflict captured in Bandhavgarh
The plan is to shift the cubs to Satpura National Park but there are some hindrances and might take at least three months to resolve, the field director said. The tigers could be shifted only after the Satpura Park is able to get elephants from Karnataka to monitor the tigers. Also, the process of shifting some of the villagers in Satpura is in the last stage. "Till then, the tigers would be in the enclosures and would be properly taken care of," Muralikrishnan said.
The twin cubs – named T1 and T2 – are in the sub-adult stage now as they have grown to almost full size. They are healthy; T1 weighs 164kgs and T2 weighs 158kgs. They were often sighted on roads, water holes and bush-covered fields around the villages close to Khitoli range, often getting into face-offs with villagers. They even caused traffic jams on the village roads, the field director said.
They killed four people including a woman and a hunchback man since March 2014. The incidents occurred on March 4 (a woman), May 27 (a man) July 21 (hunchback man) and finally on October 24, when the teacher was killed.
Either one or both the cubs also ate the hunchback victim, yet they could not be called 'maneaters' because they did not deliberately kill human beings and were still preying upon wild animals and domestic cattle for sustenance when in the open, the field director said.