JAIPUR: The circle of life goes on at the Ranthambore National Park. The spotting of two cubs after the death of the mother T-5, popularly known as Kachida tigress, has brought cheers to wildlife lovers and forest officials alike.
Another tigress T-31 was recently caught on a trap camera with two cubs. With confirmation of these two new births in Indala region of the park, the official figure of tiger cubs in the park since September last year has reached nine. Earlier, tigress T-13 gave birth to two cubs and tigress T-26 was caught on the camera with three cubs.
Morever, officials of the forests department hinted at two more cubs births though they were yet to be confirmed. "The cub count may reach to 11 but since we have not yet caught the new mother and her cubs on a camera, we cannot confirm their birth. Once their presence is established, the tiger count in Ranthambore will reach the figure of 40," an official said.
The new-born cubs, however, come with safety concerns, including the mothers concerned. "The tigress T-13 and her cubs are outside the park. Even T-26 had ventured outside the park earlier this week. Therefore, the forest department must draw up a specific action plan to ensure the safety of these tigers. They must be monitored 24'7. It is not just enough to take up only damage control after something goes wrong at the park," an activist said.
Officials of the department felt that it was difficult to monitor all the big cats round the clock. "We do keep track of the tigers and whenever any male tries to enter the territory of a mother we try and woo it away. But it is very difficult in a forest to keep a tiger in a particular place," another official said.
He also said the agriculture fields adjoining the park pose a special problem. These fields are filled with mustard and when these crops are four to five feet high they are mistaken as grassland by tigers. The big cats often get lost in these fields and ultimately get into conflict with humans. If the wandering tigresses are lactating mothers, the conflict reaches a higher dimension as they fiercely protect their cubs.
"In such cases, the alternative before us is to distract the them away from these fields by bursting fire crackers. It is a major concern for us as the nearby dwellers are dependent on these fields," the official added.