Tiger cubs in safe custody
Deccan Chronicle.| Nagabhushanam Hoskote
Rescued tiger cubs. (Photo by arrangement)
ANANTAPUR: Forest department officials in Atmakur were in for a surprise on Monday morning when they found themselves in the midst of four tiger cubs that were ‘rescued’ by the Pedda Gummadapuram villagers in Kothapalli mandal of Nandyal district.
After day-long trials and errors, the officials said they would attempt reuniting the month- old cubs with their mother that was reportedly present in the vicinity of the village.
After the ‘rescued’ cubs were taken to a room in the village -- the residents carried them in bamboo baskets -- forest department officials rushed to the village and began efforts to reunite the cubs with their mother.
Some villagers first found one cub in a field near the forest area close the village. Later, they found three more. All the four were moved by the villagers to a safe room.
Forest officials said the cubs appeared healthy. As part of the attempt to reunite them with their mother, the officials took these out and left them in the area where they were found. The officials left the area after posting some staff around the spot in a one-km radius to watch if the mother returned to take the cubs with her.
However, as hours passed, the officials realised that the cubs were getting weak because of the heat. They went back and collected the cubs. After wrapping them in gunny bags, they were taken to a nearby veterinary hospital in Bairluty village to ‘cool them down’.
The officials said they have placed camera traps in the area where the cubs were found and would be leaving the cubs in the same area from where the villagers picked them up. The officials said they hoped that the mother would return at night and take the cubs away with her.
"We tried to feed them with milk and give them some water but they did not respond," an official said.
The presence of the cubs led to a lot of excitement and commotion in the village, with people lining up to hold them and take selfies with their mobile phones, before the arrival of the forest department officials led by the Atmakur divisional forest officer A. Singh.
"We will make all necessary efforts to reunite with the mother. If the situation continues so for two more days, it is inevitable to shift the cubs to Tirupati zoo to save their lives," officials said.