Tiger cub killed in Rajasthan’s Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in territorial fight
An eight-month-old tiger cub died at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve (RTR) in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan on Sunday. The cub is suspected to have been killed by another adult tigress T-124, also known as Riddhi, in a territorial fight.
A month back on April 1, a five-month-old tiger cub was found dead in Gandhra Deh area of RTR in mutilated condition. In the post-mortem, canine marks were found on its neck and the forest officials then said they suspected it was killed by another tiger.
Additional conservator of forest Sanjiv Sharma on Sunday said this cub’s neck was broken and there were many injuries on the body, which was sent for a post-mortem.
Sharma said the cub was one of the four born to tigress T-102 in August 2020. He suspected this cub might have separated from her mother last night and entered another tigress’ territory. They suspect that other tigress to be Ridhi, who was spotted moving in the area.
“We were on routine patrolling today and spotted two tigers running, little ahead we spotted the cub’s body with a broken neck and injuries and [realised that it had been] dragged,” he said.
Another forest official said the area where the cub’s body was found is the juncture of territories of tigress T-102 and T-124. He said four tigresses: T-84 (arrowhead), her two daughters Ridhi (T-124) and Sidhi (T-125), and T-102 (the mother of the dead cub) move in zone 3, 4 and 5 of the RTR. “In RTR, the issue is of territory. The Reserve has crossed its carrying capacity, now either there will be fights related to territory or migration of tigers, which then will be difficult to track outside the protected area,” he said.
The official claimed that since November 2020 to January 2021, the daughters of tigress Arrowhead – Ridhi and Sidhi have fought for territory at least five times.
Retired IFS Sunanyan Sharma said RTR was overpopulated and the tigers will either move out to other forests; get into territorial fights, which could lead to even deaths; or move towards villages, where they could be poisoned.
He said the only solution for effective tiger conservation is relocation, after developing the habitat.
RTR’s 76 tigers including 21 cubs and sub-adults live in an area of 1,334 square kms, making it the third most congested habitat for the big cats in India after Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand and Kaziranga National Park in Assam.
The ‘Status of Tigers in India-2018’ report said that Rajasthan has witnessed an increase in tiger population by 115% in the last 12 years.
In a major setback to tiger conservation in Rajasthan, four tigers including two sub-adults were reported missing from RTR in March 2021. The administration had conducted intensive search for these missing tigers, which were not sighted for the past year, without success.