In a major setback to the tiger-breeding plans of the state forest department, Ludhiana tiger safari has lost two tigresses in two days, leaving only three of the big cats in the safari - two males and a female.
Royal Bengal tigress Mohini, 15, died on Saturday, while Elaichi, 17, was declared dead on Sunday morning, a source said. The post-mortem by a team from Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) has revealed that the two died due to liver failure.
Kirti Dua, the head of GADVASU's wildlife centre and a professor of veterinary medicines at the university, said the deaths were natural. "Both were aged and could not recover from liver failure because of their age. Normally, tigers die at this age only," Dua said.
A source at the safari, however, said that the tigresses had not been keeping well and were being treated by a team of experts from GADVASU and the forest department's wildlife wing. A wildlife worker in the safari said Mohini was already weak and recently got injured while mating with a male tiger at the safari. "She could not recover from the injury," the worker, who did not wish to be named, said.
Both the bodies have been buried. Stretched over 25 acres, the tiger safari in Ludhiana is situated on the Ludhiana-Jalandhar road and is now left with two male and one female tigers. Contacted, Punjab chief wildlife warden Dhirender Kumar said the deaths were not a setback to their breeding plans. "More tigresses will be brought to the tiger safari from Chattbir zoo," he said.
A team of experts from the forest department's wildlife wing also visited the safari. "All three surviving animals are fit and have no ailment," said a member.