COIMBATORE: Two tiger cubs, barely 15 days old, were found dead in Masinagudi forest range of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in the Nilgiris district on Tuesday morning. According to Forest department sources, it was anti-poaching watchers on a routine patrol, who found the carcass and informed officials.
A team of staff from Masinagudi visited the spot and began their inquiry. Veterinarian Pon Kalaivani carried out the postmortem examination in the presence of representatives from NGOs. Officials suspect the cubs were probably killed by an adult tiger attempting to mate with their mother.
The mother accidentally having killed the little ones, while carrying them from one place to another was also floated as a likely scenario. First-time mothers, they said, could have difficulty with tenderness, while carrying their newborn by the neck in their mouth. Pointing out that it was a natural death, the carcass was burnt as per the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines in presence of members of NGOs and forest committee members.
The number of tiger deaths in the MTR (consisting of three forest ranges spread of 321 sq km)this year, so far, now stood at three, including that of the two cubs. On February 3, an eight-year-old tigress was found dead at Ombetta Odai in Kargudi forest range. A fight with a porcupine turned fatal after the latter’s quills pierced her intestines.