Rajasthan’s Mukundra reserve left with one injured tigress
In the past two months, two tigers and a cub have died, while three, including two cubs, have gone missingUpdated: Sep 30, 2020, 16:36 IST
Kota’s Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve (MHTR), populated only two years back, and with four tigers and three cubs till July this year, has hardly any tigers left now. All it is left with is an injured tigress codenamed MT-4 but that too has been shifted to Abheda Biological Park for treatment.
In the past two months, two tigers and a cub have died, while three, including two cubs, have gone missing. There are apprehensions that the missing tiger, MT-1, has left the MHTR enclosure.
It was the last camera trapped (captured on camera) on August 19. The MHTR search team, and that sent from Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, has failed to locate the big cat.
The cub of dead tigress MT-2 has been missing since August 3 and that of MT-4 was last seen on camera trap on May 22. The chances of their surviving without their mothers are low, said a forest official on the condition of anonymity.
As far as tiger deaths are concerned, two adult tigers died within a span of 10 days – male tiger MH-3 died on July 23 due to cardiac arrest and female MT-2 on August 3 because of a territorial fight. MT-2 had delivered two cubs in June, of which one died during treatment and the other went missing.
A team of National Tiger Conservation Authority has visited MHTR to investigate the deaths and inspect the management; and another team would be coming shortly.
Conservator of forest and MHTR field director Sedu Ram Yadav said a search operation is on for the missing tiger, MT-1. The neighbouring forest divisions, such as Bundi, Baran, Jhalawar and even Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, have been informed to keep a check in their respective areas.
Yadav said after being camera-trapped on August 19, indirect evidence, such as pugmarks, was found on August 25. “The possibility of MT-1 having left the reserve cannot be ruled out,” said Yadav.
On the health of injured tigress MT-4, currently under treatment at Abheda Biological Park, Yadav said the big cat’s condition was improving. Once fully recovered, MT-4 will be shifted to a soft enclosure before being released in the wild.
Retired IFS officer Sunayan Sharma said the missing tiger is a result of administrative failure, especially the dearth of skilled personnel, from forest guard to ranger level. The monitoring and follow-up were not effective, he alleged. “The big cats had accepted this reserve as they got disturbance-free area and they started to breed,” he said. No rangers have not been recruited in the past 25 years, he said.