Idukki: Abandoned by its mother when just two months old, a tiger cub is being taken care of by forest officials of the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR).
The cub, which was hardly 2 kg when found near the ancient Mangala Devi temple at Thekkady in the district on November 21 last year, was starving for three days, extremely weak, had injuries on its hindlegs, suffered from corneal opacity, cloudiness in both lenses and had injuries in the stomach.
Perhaps due to its injuries, the cub was abandoned, forest officials said. For two days, the officials tried in vain to track the mother with the help of camera traps set up in various places in the area.
Then, the foresters thought it best to bring the cub up by themselves. Firstly, treatment was given to the animal on the basis of the protocols laid down by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) as per which it has to be released in a small area in the first phase, according to PTR Deputy Director Sunil Babu.
A cage is being prepared for the cub and would be placed in an area of 10-50 hectares in the sanctuary and subsequently the area would be enlarged for the animal to move around more freely. Since the SOP says the animal should be trained before being left in the wild, hunting lessons would be imparted at a later stage.
The cub has gained around 23 kgs, is stable after being given physiotherapy treatment, vitamins, oral supplements and nerve tonics, said Anu Raj, a veterinarian.
It is being fed about 1,000-1,200 grams of raw chicken and beef besides 600 gms of goat milk. The cub was given soft tiger replica toys to play with, but she has chewed them off in no time.