Threat lurks over Tadoba tigers
Ashwin Aghor / DNAFriday, November 13, 2009 3:03 IST Email
The recent raid by CBI sleuths at Nagpur railway station and subsequent arrest of poachers and recovery of two tiger skins, one of them being fresh, and 40 kg of tiger bones has once again highlighted the severe threat to wild cat in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR).
The arrested poachers have confessed to killing the tiger in TATR some two months ago. Interestingly, two one-and-half month old tiger cubs were found abandoned near village Ganeshpimpri outside TATR in September this year. The poachers confessed to have killed a tiger in the reserve around the same time.
Now, speculations are rife that the tigress missing from Katezari area of the reserve since November 5 would also have fallen prey to poachers. The tigress living in the Katezari area of the reserve with her four one-and-half-year-old cubs has gone missing for the past 10 days. Though the tigress that made waves due to daylong sighting with her cubs in Katezari is missing, the forest officials are not ready to accept the facts.
Chief conservator of forest (wildlife) Dr Nand Kishore maintained that the tigress was not missing but just had crossed over the reserve boundary and was being monitored. He also claimed that the pug marks seen in the area indicated that the wild cat was moving towards the reserve. However, he had no answer as to why the tigress was not seen by anyone.
Sources said the tigress that went missing before September 19 from near Ganeshpimpri was poached and fear the Katezari tigress might have met the same fate.
"Indirect evidences of her presence in the area cannot be a proof of her being alive. Unless sighted, it is hard to believe that the tigress is alive," said a wildlife expert on condition of anonymity. Though Nand Kishor claimed that pug marks of a full grown tiger were seen along those of the cubs, he was not sure whether it was their mother or some other tiger.
The forest department officials have now placed camera traps along thetrail of the pug marks to identify the tiger. "The camera traps will help us in getting the photographs of the full grown tiger moving in the area," Nand Kishore said.