Tiger cubs yet to be traced in Panna sanctuary

Madhya Pradesh's Panna sanctuary has in all likelihood lost its two poster cubs with authorities yet to trace them a month after they went missing.

The state wildlife officials, however, are yet to declare them officially dead.

Panna Field director S R Murthy said that they were keeping a regular tab on the movement of the tigress which is with her two remaining five-month-old cubs.

"We have kept our fingers crossed and it might be possible that the tigress has hidden them (missing cubs) in a safer place. But, to be on the realistic side, we are now "99 per cent certain" that only two live cubs are present with the  tigress."

"In case they have died it is nothing strange. It is a a natural phenomenon. Usually, mortality rate is 50 per cent in the big cats in the wild. The cubs might have died and the park employees are looking for physical remains in the area, if any," Murthy said.

Just when the success story of the country's tiger translocation programme was being scripted soon after the litter of four cubs were born on 15/16 April from one of the reintroduced big cat in the sanctuary, the officials got a jolt when they could not spot three of the four-months old with their mother.

The tigress was spotted with a single cub on September 7 after a fight with the solitary male tiger at the park on  August 29 and then again on September 5.

Initially, it was felt that the tigress might have hidden the cubs after the two fights with the male tiger.

However, while one cub was retrieved since then, the two others seem to have lost to either disease or the tiger itself might have killed the cubs to get near to the mother.
In all, the park has a tiger and two tigress.

The authorities soon plan to bring yet another male and two females to the Park which had lost all big cats to poachers just a few years ago.


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