Hyderabad: The tigress Falguna had a surprise in store for officials. She has cubs, and not three as had been long believed. Falguna had given birth to four cubs in 2016, and all of them have survived.
Falguna had given birth in Kagaznagar division in March, and forest department thought that she had delivered three cubs. It was only after five months, in August, that forest officials noticed a fourth cub with Falguna.
Kagaznagar divisional forest officer M. Raja Ramana Reddy said, “We came to know about the fourth cub two months ago and we are protecting them. We have kept up surveillance on the forest fringes where farmers put up snares to protect their fields from wild animals.”
Forest officials are concentrating on providing security to the tigress and taking measures to protect the cubs.
There was a delay in identifying the fourth cub due to the non-availability of tracking methods. The forest departments of some states use trained elephants to track tigresses, especially those with cubs.
The Telangana state forest department doesn’t have trained elephants. According to wildlife experts, National Tiger Conservation Authority guidelines do not allow the forest department to tranquilise the tigers to fix GPS collars to track them. It can be done only when the animal is tranquilised for some other reason.
A wildlife expert said fixing a collar on a tiger was not easy, and the process was regulated by several guidelines. “Relocating elephants may not work some times. A woman was killed by an elephant in Maharashtra when it was relocated to track a maneater tiger. We cannot predict the exact behaviour of animals,” he said.
“We are tracking tigers by three methods - camera traps, identifying pugmarks and studying the scat. There is a need to upgrade the tracking system. We are working on it,” he said....