Cubs of slain tigress Avni spotted, to be rescued soon
A day after Union minister Maneka Gandhi said the Maharashtra forest department had done nothing to rescue the two cubs of slain tigress Avni, a forest patrol said it spotted two 10-month-old cubs in Vihirgaon range of the Pandharkawada forest area in Yavatmal on Thursday morning.Updated: Nov 15, 2018 23:18 IST
A day after Union minister Maneka Gandhi said the Maharashtra forest department had done nothing to rescue the two cubs of slain tigress T-1 aka Avni, a forest patrol said it spotted two 10-month-old cubs in Vihirgaon range of the Pandharkawada forest area in Yavatmal on Thursday morning .
The forest department said it will soon rescue the cubs. “The sighting is a positive indicator for us...all teams have been instructed to follow their movement and tranquillise them,” said AK Misra, principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife), state forest department.
Forest officers said camera traps had captured new images of the cubs. “Tigress T-1 was spotted in this very region several times. Within a few hours of spotting the cubs, different teams were deployed to cover that zone for speedy tranquillisation...,” said Sunil Limaye, additional principal chief conservator of forest, Nagpur. “We have kept 20 live baits, trap cages, and 27 mutton pieces...to lure the cubs.”
The forest department has 111 camera traps and 54 pug impression pads across 160 sq km of the forest area with 10 teams monitoring these. Over 200 forest staff including foot patrolling teams, staff from the Special Tiger Protection Force and five veterinarians are searching for the cubs. A night patrolling mobile squad. Teams from the Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai are assisting the rescue team.
Animal welfare groups are sceptical. “There is no proof of what is actually happening within this forest area...if the knowledge of the cubs’ whereabout is with them, tranquillising them should have been done at the earliest,” said Sarita Subramaniam from Earth Brigade Foundation who petitioned to stop T-1’s killing.
A forest officer associated with the rescue operation requesting anonymity said the patrolling team did not spot the cubs but were merely told by locals that they had spotted. Avni was killed by hunter Asghar Ali Khan on November 2.