Hyderabad: A young tigress, believed to be one of the first born in the wild after the formation of Telangana State, is in distress. The tigress, believed to be about two and a half years old and given the number K4, is reportedly inching closer to death with each ounce it gains. And cutting into its abdomen is a wire snare that someone in the Chennur forest area of Mancherial district had placed to poach wild animals.
Each ounce the young sub-adult tigress gains, crucial for its well-being under normal conditions, in this case is only expected to increase its misery with the snare getting tighter around its abdomen. If the tigress cannot be tranquilized soon and the snare removed, then it might just die from the ever tightening noose slicing through its abdomen.
K4 is one of the four cubs born to Phalguna, a female tiger that migrated to Telangana sometime in 2016 from forests in Maharashtra. Of the four cubs, there has been no news of three for some months now. Interestingly, K4 is one of the cubs whose family portrait, when the cubs were very young, was presented to Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao by Forest Minister Jogu Ramanna in August 2016.
Baiting for K4
“We have been trying to encourage K4 to feed on animals we have tied in the forest as bait. We have four live baits in different areas of Chennur forest. We are trying to get it used to feed on the baited animals,” the field director of Kawal Tiger Reserve C Saravanan told Telangana Today.
Once it becomes comfortable killing the baits and feeds on them, the officials plan to have experienced veterinarians tranquilize it and remove the snare.
A tigress usually abandons her cubs once they reach the age of around two years and then looks for a mate again. In case of Phalguna too, this is what appears to have happened. “There was a recent sighting of Phalguna with a very young cub. We suspect it gave birth to two cubs,” Saravanan said.
Imran Siddiqui, biologist from Hyticos and Wildlife Conservation Society-India, told Telangana Today that K4 is perhaps from the first tiger litter in Telangana. “It has become very careful after getting entangled in this snare. It would take time to develop her trust before she starts accepting baits,” he said.
Siddiqui said: “The forest department and we are being very careful not to put the animal under any more stress. The good news is that it is making its own kills of both cattle and wild prey.”