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Spell of the Tiger: Why the deaths of T4 and T5 signify the end of an era

In the summer of May 2005, two tiger cubs were orphaned in a central Indian forest. The story of T4 and T5 who spun a quiet revolution in the Panna Tiger Reserve and why their deaths signify the end of an era.

T4-with-cub-R-P-Omre_759_RP Omre T4’s sightings were quite common — she was often seen lolling away in glory with her cubs, as she rested in the shade of vegetation by a stream. (Source: RP Omre)

In the searing summer of May 2005, in the heart of the central Indian forest of Kanha Tiger Reserve, two female cubs all of 30 days, were orphaned when their mother was killed by a male tiger. The cubs were picked up and hand-reared by the forest department. At 18 months, they were released into a bigger enclosure.

Around the time that these cubs were exploring their limited freedom, about 350 km away, Panna Tiger Reserve’s tiger population was being decimated. By 2009, all but one male tiger were declared dead. Recognising the dire condition, Panna Tiger Reserve’s reintroduction programme was finally implemented. Two female tigers named T1 and T2, from Bandhavgarh and Kanha respectively, were released in Panna in March 2009. However, soon the last remaining male tiger in Panna also disappeared. To correct this a male tiger, christened T3 from Pench was released in Panna in November 2009.

First published on: 17-07-2016 at 12:00:20 am
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