Sad loss of tiger cubs from Panna Tiger Reserve, India

Jun 23, 2014

Category:CubClub 

Two tiger cubs have died after being abandoned by their mother in Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR), Madhya Pradesh, India. These cubs were the first litter of the hand-bred tigress T5 and were born three weeks ago.

This incident is being considered a big disappointment for PTR which had lost all its tigers to poachers in early 2009 and had began a successful reintroduction programme in the park, relocating tigers from healthier populations in India.

"With the death of these two cubs we are left with 26 tigers, which include four sub-adults which are now leaving the park in search of new territories," PTR's field director R S Murthy told the Times of India.

Abandoning cubs is a commonly reported behaviour among big cats, he said. "Our team could find only a few remains of the cubs. Samples have been preserved for forensic examination."

T5 was last seen around her cubs on May 20. On May 21 she went out for a kill but did not return and was spotted again after a week with tiger (T3) 500 meters away from the den.

The beautiful T2 in Panna courtesy of Shekhar Kolipaka

Meanwhile, two sub-adult tigers have dispersed from the park in the last three months:

The first one was P212. This radio-collared tiger, which shot into the limelight after being bitten by a rabid dog, was tranquilised and shifted to Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Siddhi district.

He was caught while heading towards Bandhavgarh tiger reserve discovering a thin corridor around the Ken River which was destroyed by human habitation in the last 60 years. Forest officials believe there are three tigresses at Sanjay Gandhi National Park and P212 would help in increasing the tiger population.

Another tiger, P121, was caught on a camera trap in Damoh district on June 8.

When the relocation programme began in 2009, wildlife experts across the world doubted its success. Of the founder population, four were females —T1, T2 (pictured above), T4, T5 and a male T3. Nine of their cubs are males and two females. Two males from the first litter of T1 have already established their territories in the park.

"Panna is the ideal habitat for tigers," says TigerTime campaign , Vicky Flynn who visited the park in 2007 and was lucky enough to see one of the last indigenous tigers when she visited. "Given enough protection there is no reason why tigers cannot thrive there. Hopefully the tigers will have more cubs and the project will continue to go from strength to strength."

Source: Times of India manager

Photo courtesy of Shekhar Kolipaka

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