Unable to walk due to a possible injury to its back, a tiger has been stuck in a river in Bhadravati tahsil of Chandrapur district for over 12 hours. The operation to rescue it was called off for the day after sunset Wednesday.
The tiger was found stuck in a slushy part of the river on Wednesday morning by commuters on the bridge above the river, in the Majri area of Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) mines. A Forest Department team rushed to the spot. They, however, couldn’t tranquilise the tiger, as tranquilisation is not allowed when the animal is in water, where it can drown.
“Efforts were made to lower a cage near the tiger to entice it inside. But it didn’t respond. We will resume the operation tomorrow,” Chandrapur Chief Conservator of Forest Rama Rao told The Indian Express. Tranquilising an animal is not allowed after sunset too.
An eyewitness said the tiger was injured during the rescue attempt too. “When the cage was being lowered into the river using a crane, the tiger jumped on it and tried to catch it in his jaw. But his tooth was hurt and started bleeding. Due to his grip, the cage started oscillating and the door came ajar, hitting his leg,” said the eyewitness.
Rama Rao, however, said, “It was a minor incident and there is nothing serious.”
According to Chandrapur Honorary Wildlife Warden Bandu Dhotre, the tiger could be one of the four cubs that, along with their mother, had made the Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station (CSTPS) their home. As reported earlier by The Indian Express, one of these cubs had travelled over 500 km — the longest-known tiger migration in India — to the Sarni Thermal Power Station in Madhya Pradesh, killing two persons along the route in Maharashtra. It was finally caught there and put in a zoo.
“The Bhadravati tiger apparently jumped off the bridge yesterday night and injured its back seriously. A car driver said it was sitting in the middle of the bridge and jumped off when another car drove up from the opposite direction,” Dhotre said. “Despite the area having no forest for kilometres at a stretch, the tiger has made it his home and is known to have made some cattle kills here,” he added.
The CSTPS tiger family makes for an interesting study since the cubs were always found loitering near farms and kept away from the forest. They had grown up in shrubby surrounding the farmlands near CSTPS, and forest officials say this is why attempts to push into the forest the cub that migrated to MP had failed.