Tigress Avni (T1)'s cub jumps over tilted fence to escape in the wild

Updated: Jan 04, 2019, 08:25 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Forest department launches rescue operation over 70-square-kilometre difficult terrain in Pandharkawda

The male cub has not been spotted in the fenced area over the past couple of days
The male cub has not been spotted in the fenced area over the past couple of days

The forest department has yet another challenge to face, with tigress T1's male cub preparing to give them a tough time. Officials suspect that the cub has jumped over the 12-feet-fence of the enclosure set up to trap him, after they found it to be tilted on one side. Though the forest officials have launched a massive search operation to trace the cub, it's going to be a daunting task for the team, given the 70-square-kilometre of difficult terrain in Pandharkawda area they now have to traverse.

Sources believe that a Neelgai might have hit the portion of the fence in water resulting in it getting tilted on one side and creating a passage for the cub to escape. Further, reports regarding a tiger killing cattle in the nearby forest area on Wednesday raised the suspicion. While a team of experts along with elephants would be carrying out the search operation, villagers too have been asked to be vigilant and alert the forest department in case they spot the cub.

Speaking to mid-day, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Sunil Limaye, said, "The male cub was not spotted in the fenced area during the search operation over the past couple of days. We thought he was hiding in the lantana weeds. But on inspecting the area further, we found a part of the fence to be tilted. There are chances that the cub might have escaped in the wild."

When asked about the concerns raised regarding the cub's survival last month, Biologist and Tiger Expert Dharmendra Khandal from NGO Tiger Watch, which has been monitoring the movement of tigers with the help of local community members living around Ranthambhore, said, "After T1 was shot dead, everyone was concerned about the cubs. Even then I had said that the cubs would survive and there was nothing to worry about. It's been over a month, which means the cubs are hunting for their survival. I don't think there is a need to capture them, as it won't be an easy task."

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