Traumatised tiger cubs show signs of recovery
4 Nov, 2008, 0310 hrs IST, TNN
NAGPUR: Maharajbagh zoo authorities began treating the two female tiger cubs brought here after being rescued from a belligerent mob of villagers on Sunday from Mendki village of North Brahmapuri forest range in Chandrapur district. The two cubs, though still severely traumatised, have shown some positive signs of recovery.
The first is that they have started consuming food. They ate four kgs of meat on Monday. Veterinary experts examining them say the trauma of being separated from mother, being hounded by the villagers, and then of being in captivity is still showing on them.
Their treatment could not be started on Sunday night as it took almost two hours to shift the cubs into squeeze cages at the zoo. They had reached the zoo only by 9 pm on Sunday. On Monday morning, both the cubs, codenamed ‘S’ and ‘T’, were examined by zoo veterinarian Dr S S Bawaskar and treatment was started under the guidance of Dr Vinod Dhoot of Government Veterinary Hospital.
The doctors are concentrating on ‘S’ cub that seems to be in pain probably after being beaten up by the rowdy villagers who had surrounded the animals in hundreds. It is suffering from corneal opacity in the left eye due to injury. The ‘T’ cub is weak but otherwise seems normal. The cubs’ consuming meat is deemed as a good sign by the doctors. Dr Dhoot told TOI that the cubs were weak and under tremendous stress.
Earlier, Dr Bawaskar along with Dr Geetanjali Dhume, a veterinarian with the wildlife wing of the Forest Department, and wildlife expert Kundan Hate administered 200 ml saline to the ‘S’ cub. "We also injected the cub with painkillers and vitamins. The animal is suspected to have internal injuries and there is swelling on body parts," Dr Bawaskar informed.
Blood, urine and fickle samples of the ‘S’ cub have been sent to the veterinary hospital to ascertain whether it is suffering from liver or kidney infection. Proper treatment would start once results are received. Dr Dhoot said, he would be able to comment in detail only on Tuesday when the reports of tests come in.
According to Hate, starvation is the main reason for weakness but harassment by villagers for over 13 hours is the main cause of cubs’ trauma. There are several ticks on their body which indicates that they have been separated from their mother for a long time. Under normal circumstances, the tigress licks these cubs to get rid of the ticks. Medicine has been given to kill these ticks.
Earlier, in the morning, Nandkishore, chief conservator of forests (CCF), wildlife, Nagpur Circle, and Mohan Jha, field director and conservator of forests, Pench national park and tiger reserve, visited the zoo and inquired about the cubs’ health. Nandkishore assured all help from the department for best possible treatment to the cubs.
Meanwhile, the report on tiger cubs arriving in the zoo after a long gap drew hundreds of visitors to have a glimpse of the animals. This was despite the fact that the zoo is officially closed for public on Mondays. The animals are presently kept out of the display area.