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Friday, April 16, 2021

Six tigers missing in Ranthambore for one year, activists concerned

According to officials, the last sightings of the tigers were captured through camera traps installed inside the forest in March and April last year.

Written by Deep Mukherjee | Jaipur |
Updated: March 20, 2021 7:59:34 am
Activists have expressed concern over the issue, terming the incident as ‘shocking’.

Six tigers, including two cubs, have been missing at the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve for a year, officials of the Rajasthan forest department said on Friday.

According to officials, the last sightings of the tigers were captured through camera traps installed inside the forest in March and April last year.

“The tigers T73 and its two cubs, along with tigers T64, T97 and T95, were last sighted in March-April 2020 and we are unable to locate them since then. They were from different ranges such as Kundera and Talera,” Tikam Chand Verma, Chief Conservator of Forest and Field Director, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, told The Indian Express on Friday.

Activists have expressed concern over the issue, terming the incident as ‘shocking’.

“T73 and T64 were the parents of the two cubs. All four are missing now. It is shocking to see an entire family of tigers going missing. Almost all the tigers have gone missing from the Kundera range, which also seem odd. The fact that this information did not come out in public for the past one year is also a matter of concern, and needs to be addressed immediately. Otherwise, it will be difficult to ensure proper conservation of tigers in Ranthambore,” said Dharmendra Khandal, conservation biologist, TigerWatch.

Khandal said that factors such as poaching and revenge killing of tigers by villagers, who often complain when big cats hunt down domesticated animals, cannot be ruled out as probable causes of the tigers going missing.

“Apart from these six tigers, another tiger, T-92 is also missing since February 2020,” said Khandal. Forest department officials, however, have confirmed about only six missing tigers.

Chief Wildlife Warden Mohan Lal Meena declined to comment stating officials at Ranthambore will be better informed to talk on the issue.

“We cannot rule out death but at present, we don’t have any evidence to support this. It is also possible the tigers have migrated and changed their territories. Infighting can’t be ruled out as well. We have ensured that villagers get compensation if domesticated animals are killed by tigers. That is why poisoning seems unlikely,” said field director Verma.

The female tiger T73 had given birth to four cubs in 2019, and their photo was captured on camera traps along with three of the cubs.

In December last year, a statewide alert against poaching was issued after camera traps inside the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve captured images of a tiger with a hunting snare-like wire noose coiled around its neck.

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