Hyderabad: The life of tigress K4, living with a poacher’s wire snare around its abdomen since November 2017, could be in danger. According to a senior Forest Department official, the tigress, with the snare that has resulted in a severe constriction around its abdomen, might be pregnant.
It has been moving with a male tiger K6 off and on for some time now, and is believed to have mated with K6. While K6, about two and a half years old and born to tigress Phalguna which is also K4’s mother, is still considered young to begin breeding, the official was pretty certain that K4 could be pregnant. Typically male tigers begin breeding when they are about four years old. While K6 might not be old enough to sire offspring yet, there were also reports of a large male tiger from Maharashtra which roamed the Kagaznagar and Mancherial forests recently.
Asked if the snare would not pose a threat to the life of the tigress if it was indeed pregnant, the official said it was very likely that the snare might have dropped off as the wire it was made of could have rusted and broken off.
It may be recalled that K4 was first found with the snare stuck on it in November 2017. But it was only in the middle of last year that the State Forest Department began taking steps to monitor its movement and made some futile attempts to catch the tigress to remove the snare. When the monsoon set in this year, all operations relating to search and rescue of K4 were suspended.
K4, according to officials, has been moving about freely and was regularly hunting and has adapted to a life with the snare around it.
“It is unlikely that K4 might be pregnant even if was seen moving with a male tiger as the tigress would still be under stress because of the snare. An analysis of its scat samples would present the correct picture,” wildlife biologist and Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society’s Imran Siddiqui said.