THE optimism expressed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar that missing tiger Jai will be spotted soon may turn out to a reality with a team of independent volunteers from Umred spotting concrete signs of presence of a large male tiger along with a female just about 20 km from Umred-Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary on Friday.
Honorary wildlife warden of Nagpur district Rohit Karu, who led the search near Godhni village and surrounding area after getting inputs about a large number of unreported cattle kills, told The Indian Express, “After a day-long search from 6 am to 6 pm, we found pugmarks of a large male along with that of a female in the area. The male pugmarks are comparable to that of Jai. Moreover, 12 cattle kills were confirmed to have happened by the local villagers in the past 15 days. These are very positive indicators pointing to the possibility of Jai’s movement in the area. We are going to launch another intensive search by a 50-strong group comprising volunteers as well as forest staffers on Saturday again. For now, we have installed two trap cameras at the spot where the pugmarks were found.”
Incidentally, while over 200 private volunteers, who are fans and admirers of the iconic tiger, have searched more than 7000 sq km of forest over the last more than a week so far, the part scanned today was visited for the first time.
“It was after we got inputs about some unreported cattle kills. The area is known for illegal cattle grazing, a reason why the kills are not reported. Jai, incidentally, was known for his frequent cattle killing. In the area, four cattle were killed on a single day at one place while two each were killed on three consecutive days about 10 days ago.”