An eight-month old cub that fell into a 30-foot deep well in Katni district on Monday night was rescued by an expert team from the Mukundpur Tiger Safari in Madhya Pradesh late on Tuesday afternoon, a forest department official said.
Local forest officials could not carry out the rescue operation till afternoon as the cub’s mother was moving around the same area, guarding the cub, the official added on condition of anonymity.
The cub, weighing around 63 kg was then taken for a medical check-up. After the medical check-up, the cub will be released in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Umaria district of the state, Rajesh Kumar, a Mukundpur Tiger Safari official said.
At eight months, a tiger cub can usually hunt along with its mother. Tiger cubs stay with their mother till they are two-and-half years old. They can hunt on their own by the time they are 18-months old.
Madhya Pradesh has the most number of tigers in India according to the latest tiger count — 526 of a total of 2967. The state’s tiger population saw an increase of 218 since the last survey in 2014.
“The movement of a tigress with her four cubs was reported in Barhi forest range of the district. A shepherd heard the roaring of the cub (from the well) at around 6am on Tuesday. The shepherd also saw the tigress and one of her cubs in the area. He called the villagers, and later they informed the forest officials and police at around 7-8 AM,” said Rajesh Rai, divisional forest officer (DFO), Katni.
He added that the cub may have likely fallen into the well past midnight.
“The local forest team found it difficult to start the rescue operation till around noon as the mother was moving in the area to guard the cub. It was with the help of the expert team from Mukundpur Tiger Safari that the cub was rescued around 3- 4 PM. The tigress had moved to a near-by hillock by then,” the forest official cited in the first instance added.
“First, the team used darts to tranquillise the cub and when it unconscious, the team went inside the well with the help of ladders and took the cub out in a net,” said Rajesh Kumar.
A large number of villagers from Piparia and neighbouring villages had gathered near the well to see the cub and the rescue operation. A police team was deployed and the area cordoned off to protect both the villagers as well as the animal, said NK Pandey, police station in-charge, Barhi.
Rai said villagers have been warned to steer clear of the area as the tigress is still around.
Aug 14, 2019 00:10 IST