First tiger cubs in decades recorded in Similipal forest, Odisha

The number of tiger cubs in Similipal has risen to 12, reflecting successful conservation efforts.
Tigers cubs spotted by camera in North division of Similipal Tiger Reserve
Tigers cubs spotted by camera in North division of Similipal Tiger Reserve Photo|Express

BHUBANESWAR: In a major boost to big cat conservation in Similipal, forest officials have recorded breeding of the striped predator in the North division of the tiger reserve for the first time after decades.

PCCF Wildlife and Chief Wildlife Warden Susanta Nanda said T24, a female tiger, was camera trapped rearing two melanistic cubs recently. The tiger breeding was recorded in Similipal North after a few decades.

Commending the efforts of Similipal staff in securing a safe habitat for the big cats, Nanda said this has brought hope and happiness among the forest officials.

Sharing more details, STR field director Prakash Chand Gogineni said the tiger breeding has taken place in Similipal North division after over two to three decades. However, this is the first breeding of cubs recorded through camera trap. The tigress has given birth to three cubs, which are now around three months old, in the core of Similipal North near Pithabata.

According to forest officials, the movement of tigers in Similipal North, that has a share of around 25 per cent in STR’s total core area, has increased only in the last two years. The breeding recorded within this period is an indication that the area is free of poachers and has adequate prey base.

“Our efforts to create more inviolate space in the area continues,” the STR field director added.

Forest officials said with the recent sighting, the number of cubs in Similipal has increased to 12. Till the tiger estimation exercise, their number was eight which subsequently increased to nine following sighting of another cub in STR.

As per the All Odisha Tiger Estimation, 2023-24 report, Similipal is home to around 27 tigers.

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