AFTER shooting T1 dead on Friday night, the forest department is now faced with the challenge of capturing the cubs.
The 11-month-old cubs — a male and a female — have not been sighted for the past 48 hours.
“We have a window of seven-eight days as the cubs can possibly survive on their own for that long with small kills, like pigs, neelgai fawns and hare. We are trying to capture them sooner than later. We cannot afford to let anything untoward to happen to the cubs,” said Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), Sunil Limaye.
Activists have raised objections to the plan of killing the tigress first followed by efforts to capture the cubs. They said the approach should have been the other way round, as it is difficult for such small cubs to survive in the wild without the mother.
“We have put small baits like pigs in the area to lure the cubs. We have also intensified the search operation,” said Limaye.
He said: “The situation on the ground was such that we spotted the tigress first. That, too, during what was basically a vigil operation to secure trouble-free passage for villagers on the Borati-Ralegaon Road on a busy market day, when the animal was frequently crossing their path. So, we took a chance to tranquilise the tigress but she tried to attack and hence had to be shot at. Our priority was to prevent further human tragedy. If we had got the cubs first, we would have captured them first. The call had to be taken depending on how the situation
He added: “Considering that we had a chance to capture the cubs first, you can imagine how aggressive the tigress could have become and then the danger to human lives would have been much greater.”