Forest department sets up cages to trap tigress Avni (T1)'s cubs

Updated: Nov 27, 2018, 13:38 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Images from camera traps installed in the area suggest that the cubs are healthy and are now hunting themselves

Forest officials set up the trap cages for the cubs, which they have also camouflaged
Forest officials set up the trap cages for the cubs, which they have also camouflaged

The Forest Department (FD), which is monitoring the activity of tigress T1's cubs, also has set up two cages to trap them. Wildlife activists have been raising questions about forest officials monitoring the activity of the cubs, even as sources from the forest department said the decision to set trap cages was taken after it was found that both cubs were healthy and had settled in the Pandharkawda area.

Sources from FD said, "We have been tracking the movement of the cubs using camera traps and through direct and indirect evidence gathered from the field. We have the images and videos of the cubs in the camera traps and both seem fine." For the past three weeks, FD officials have been tracking the movement of the cubs and had given them time to settle down. There are no hurried attempts made to trap them as they could be disturbed.

"Our day-to-day monitoring has given us a hint that the cubs have now settled down and are also hunting. Our strategy now is to install two trap cages to capture them. The team zeroed in on the location where the cages have been set up and there will be bait kept in order to lure them," said an FD official.

The Maharashtra Forest Department has been facing a lot of criticism from a section of wildlife activists and lovers, and some had even questioned the department's motive of tracking the cubs. Union minister Maneka Gandhi has been at loggerheads with State Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar over the killing of T1, which according to some activists, was done in cold blood.

On November 15, mid-day's report (Tigress Avni (T1) killing row escalates: Is there a plan to kill the cubs also?) stated that in a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Gandhi had said rescue teams had allegedly been told to either let T1's cubs die or be killed. She had also suggested names of expert veterinarians from outside Maharashtra to help save the cubs.

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