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No clue of the missing Sariska tigress, search on

It has been more than 18 days forest officials have been looking for a missing tigress, ST-5 from the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan that went off the radar since February 24

jaipur Updated: Mar 14, 2018 21:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan news,Sariska tigress,Sariska Tiger Reserve
Tigress ST-5 that went missing since February 24 from the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan.(HT File Photo.)

It has been more than 18 days forest officials have been looking for a missing tigress, ST-5 from the Sariska Tiger Reserve that went off the radar since February 24, officials said.

The search team comprising more than 100 forest personnel, is trying to locate the tigress within the reserve.

The Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR) administration has installed more than 50 camera traps to record clues of the big cat’s whereabouts, and is now planning to install another 250 by next week across the reserve, officials said, adding that the animal’s radio collar has not been functioning since February 7.

Chief conservator of forest and field director of Sariska Tiger Project (Alwar) Govind Sagar Bharadwaj said, “In a day or two, we will get the images from the 50 camera traps installed in the STR, if nothing is found than by next week, additional 200 camera traps will be installed at water holes across the reserve.”

The STR has more than 400 water holes but camera traps will be installed only at the ones that have water, he said.

Bharadwaj, who is also a member of the search team, said efforts are being made to locate the tigress.

He further said that the tigress was last sited on February 21 with a 4-year-old male tiger, ST-11 in the Umri area of the reserve, where it was observed that the radio collar is not functioning.

There are chances that the tigress mated with ST-11, he said.

On February 27, pugmark of the tigress was found but the big cat she was not been seen until now.

Not ruling out the possibility that the big cat may have moved out of the reserve or even died, a forest official, familiar with the search, said the tigress is almost 12-year old and it might have been pushed out of its territory--Umri-Kemala-Sukola-Devdi in the core area of the reserve--changed its movement or given birth to a litter or died due to poison, old age or poached.

In November 2016, due to a territorial fight in the reserve, tiger ST-6, ensured that his son, ST-13 did not enter its territory for the last eight months.

BOX:

Twelve years back, poachers had wiped Sariska clean of the big cats. The STR has an overall area of about 800 sq km and a core area of approximately 500 sq km, with a total of 14 tigers–nine female and five males.

Eight tigers were translocated from the Sawai Madhopur reserve to Sariska between 2008 and 2012. One of the big cats, was poisoned in 2010.

Tigress ST-2, ST-9 and ST-10 have given birth to seven cubs between 2012 and 2017.

First Published: Mar 14, 2018 21:18 IST