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Most frequently-sighted tigress in Ranthambhore National Park lost in oblivion

Monday, 6 January 2014 - 2:16pm IST | Place: Jaipur | Agency: DNA
Big cat may have been poached or killed in retaliation by villagers, forest dept officials say.

Wildlife in state is again under attack. One of the tigresses in Ranthambhore National  Park (RNP) might be dead. Sariska suffered a severe blow in 2005 when the tiger reserve lost all its tigers and now RNP seems to be headed the Sariska way. T-17, which is said to be the most frequently-sighted tigress in RNP, has been lost in oblivion.

A search for the feline that started months ago has been futile and even the department officials had accepted in a hushed manner that the big cat is dead. This raises serious concerns since the animal may have been poached as it was last sighted in the vicinity of a village where illegal mining occurs.

The tigress was last sighted during March. “Till March 2013, the tigress along with its cubs moved to the Dhakda forest range, which is closer to the periphery area of the forest.

The felines were seen in the jungle and as far as the Badlao Lake near the villages of Bhuri Pahari and Ulliyana” an official from the forest department said. Notably, illegal mining is so rampant in the vicinity of these two villages that every second household is engaged directly or indirectly. Moreover, the forest officials are also afraid of curbing the mining activity owing to the unity of villagers involved.

“The tigress was not afraid of tourist vehicles and this brought more tourists to this part of the park. The prey base was also substantial hence the tigress and its cubs started frequenting the area. There were also reports of the animal lifting villager’s domestic animals,” said sources.

However during April, the cubs were seen without their mother. “The tigress had been missing since April. A massive search was also conducted but no trace could be found.

The teams did not find any carcass or any bird of prey in the surrounding areas” said sources. Notably, T-17 was radio-collared which allowed for its movements to be tracked but the forest department removed it and the tigress went into oblivion.

Meanwhile, department officials believed that the animal had been poached by illegal miners and since the tourism activity in the surrounding area increased, this would bring the illegal mining to notice. Officials also believed that the tigress was poached since it had killed a few domestic animals. “Mining activity or retaliation seems to be the reason but nothing can be said for certain” officials said.

Serious concern
Tigress T-17, is said to be the most frequently-sighted tigress in RNP, has been lost in oblivion. A search for the feline that started months ago has been futile and even the department officials had accepted in a hushed manner that the big cat is dead. This raises serious concerns since the animal may have been poached as it was last sighted in the vicinity of a village where illegal mining occurs. Officials believe the big cat had been poached by illegal miners and since the tourism activity in surrounding area increased, this would bring the illegal mining to notice. Officials say that the tigress was poached since it had killed a few domestic animals.


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