EVEN as forest staff search for the mother of four tiger cubs found dead in Sawli tehsil of Chandrapur district on Sunday, a woman was killed in a tiger attack about 7-8 km away on Monday.
Four cubs, two males and two females died of malnourishment in Pathri range of Sawli tehsil on Sunday.
Shantabai Bhoyar, 38, from Moha village was killed when attacked by a tiger while she was collecting firewood along with some other women in the forest. “Our staff believes the animal involved is a tigress,” said Chief Conservator of forest Sanjay Thakre. He wasn’t sure if the tigress could be the one being searched for. “Actually, we have known presence of two tigresses, T2 and T5, in the area. Which of the two could have been the mother of the cubs has to be ascertained yet,” Thakre said.
Meanwhile, five teams have started searching for the missing tigress in the entire area that has overlap of the two tigresses’ domains. Many trap cameras have also been installed. One camera captured a male tiger on Monday close to where the cubs were found dead.
Asked if the ground staff responsible for the area knew about presence of the tigress and the cubs and if they would be held accountable for the tragedy, additional chief conservator of forest Ram Babu said, “All that is part of the inquiry ordered by forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar. For now, the priority is to locate the tigress.”
Asked if the news of CBI inquiry into the incident was correct, Ram Babu said, “I have not heard about it.” He did not rule out the possibility of the tigress having been poached.
CCF Thakre said, “We will also have DNA samples of cubs examined to determine which of the two tigresses in the area was their mother.”
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