Maharashtra government has sought a video footage from Telangana to ascertain if a tiger spotted in the state’s forests is ‘Jai’, the famous feline, who went missing in April from Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary, near Nagpur.
“Local news channels reported that Jai was spotted in Telangana’s forest area. We are seeking help from the Telangana government to send us a video footage of the tiger,” Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said.
However, forest officials from Adilabad Forest Division, Telangana, said they did not have any video footage nor were they were successful in capturing images of the tiger on camera traps.
“A tiger was spotted at Pippalakoti village, around four kilometers from Tippeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary. The village is outside the forest area and has dense cotton plantation. It has been very difficult to track or locate the tiger. We have not been successful in getting any images either,” said Sivala Rambabu, District Forest Officer (DFO) Adilabad Forest Division.
Naturalists, however, believe this to be yet another wild goose chase. “When I spoke to forest officials at Adilabad, they confirmed a tiger sighting by two of their rangers on December 14 at midnight. However, they couldn’t see a collar or even identify if the cat spotted was a male or a female,” said Sarosh Lodhi of Conservation Lenses and Wildlife (ClaW) — an independent group of wildlife lovers and photographers, who flagged off mission Finding Jai.
The group has announced a cash prize of Rs50,000 to anyone who can help find Jai.
Photographic evidence or a latest scat or hair sample, or at least detailed pug mark is needed to confirm if the feline spotted was Jai, but in this case there is nothing but speculations, said Lodhi.
Inputs from PTI