Erode Tiger Cub Shifted to Vandalur - The New Indian Express

Erode Tiger Cub Shifted to Vandalur

Published: 25th February 2014 08:28 AM

Last Updated: 25th February 2014 08:28 AM

A 6-month old tiger cub, which was found abandoned by its mother at a farm near Thalamalai in Hasanur forest area in Erode district on Sunday, was overnight shifted to the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur, Chennai.

While Forest Department officials said that the cub was relocated to the zoo as its mother could not be traced, wildlife activists have questioned the necessity to shift the cub in such haste.

On Sunday, Forest Department veterinarian Dr Manoharan had examined the cub and found it to be weak. It was kept in a cage hoping its mother would come in search of her. “As the cub was very weak, we transported it to Chennai last night itself and handed it over to the officials of the zoo where modern facilities are available to protect it,” Sathy DFO Rajkumar told Express on Monday. “The cub was handed over the zoo officials around 9.30-10 am on Monday. We have been informed that that now it is in a ‘cheerful’ mood,” he said adding that transporting the cub was a risky affair as it was physically weak.

Rajkumar denied that undue haste was exhibited in transporting the cub. “It is difficult to trace its mother. If the cub had died, we would have had to face uncomfortable questions.

Hence we shifted it but we are taking steps to trace its mother,” he added. The DFO said officials of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, WWF, Chief Wildlife Warden, wildlife veterinarian and field director were consulted before moving the cub to Chennai. According to Puppusamy, in whose farm the cub was spotted, around eight Forest Department officials had lifted the cub and put in a cage around 3 am on Sunday when the little cat was “moving back to the forest.” Wildlife activist and member of the Tamil Nadu Board for Wildlife Shekar Dattatri said, “When a tigress goes hunting, she usually leaves her young cubs in hiding until she returns. Often people wrongly assume that these cubs have been abandoned and ‘rescue’ them. Such interference in nature is unwarranted.”

He pointed out that as per Section 12 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, even removing a wild animal from the forest for scientific management needs a written order from the State’s Chief Wildlife Warden. It cannot be done according to the whims and fancies of individual forest officers.

“Are forest officials going to catch tiger cubs and move them to zoos every time they see them without the mother,” he questioned.  “If anyone claims that the cub was abandoned, the question that needs to be asked is what has happened to the mother. Has she been killed by poachers? Has an investigation been launched to search for the mother,” he asked.

Forest officials, whom Express contacted, were unable to say if these procedures were followed.

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