On Wednesday, the forest department has deferred capturing C1, the male cub of Pandharkawda tigress PK T1 citing technical reasons.
C2, a female cub was cornered and tranquilized by Dr Akhilesh Mishra, wildlife vet from Madhya Pradesh on December 22. The cub was then moved to a four-hectare big enclosure in Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra.
The expert teams did not expect it to be a cakewalk to capture the female cub PK T1-C2 , but the male cub proved them otherwise.
The chemical immobilization of the male cub has been suspended, according to official sources. They revealed that the cub had not killed any bait in the last eight days due to the elephant scare. Hence, Misra suggested that any attempt to do so might only end up harming the tiger.
“It gave tough time to the four elephants brought from MP and the teams involved in capture. On Sunday, the cub even jumped 10feet-high enclosure built inside to avoid the teams. It is dodging and exhausting the tuskers in the hilly and lantana-dominated patches,” said officials.
While speaking to TOI, state’s chief wildlife warden AK Misra said, “We’ve just suspended chemical immobilization of the cub and rest of the activities like giving baits, monitoring and guarding with the help of elephants and STPF men will continue as usual.”
Misra cited hostile terrain and lantana as the reasons as to why the elephants find it difficult to achieve the task. “In the 80-hectare enclosure, we are now preparing another small area of about 15-20 hectares where the male cub will be cornered. By the time enclosure is ready, the cub will also become familiar with the elephants and our job will be easy,” said Misra.
Misra further quipped that elephants have been beneficial in darting tigers in protected areas. However, the tigers are still in the human-dominated landscape where they tend to dodge humans.
Talking about C1 female cub, Misra said, “I was in Pench for two days and the cub was doing well. There is round-the-clock monitoring. The cub will be strictly monitored and fed following technical advice, and we will see there are minimum human imprints, which is needed for its successful release in the wild.”
When quizzed about ace golfer Jyoti Singh Randhawa participation on the basis of his Pandharkawda operation of T1, Misra said, “We never invited him in T1 capture operation. He was called by shooter Shafath Ali Khan with his dogs to track T1. As it didn’t help, Randhawa returned.”
Title image: wildtigerfoundation