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Two tiger cubs rescued in Arunachal Pradesh

Posted on Dec 15, 09:30PM | IANS

Conservationists and the Arunachal Pradesh Forest Department have rescued two orphaned Royal Bengal tiger cubs from a dry water tank in Angrim valley near Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh.

The tiger cubs were rescued Thursday, said officials of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), Saturday. They added that both the cubs would be released in the wild later.

The cubs were wandering in the area without their mother for over a month, occasionally killing poultry for survival.

"A team from IFAW-WTI led by Ipra Mekola, Arunachal Pradesh State Wildlife advisory member, reached the site Dec 6 to assist the forest department in tracking the cubs. There were four cubs according to local people. The cubs had been lifting poultry and had made unsuccessful attempts at larger livestock. One of the cubs was injured," said WTI officials.

"The team found out that three of the cubs had been trapped in a dry water tank Dec 11. The villagers covered the tank with wooden planks and branches to prevent the cubs from escaping till the rescue team arrived," the official said.

He added that while two cubs were healthy and were sedated and removed from the tank, the third was severely ill when first sighted, and died in the morning.

"The cubs are about one year old. The rescued cubs are a male and a female. The cub that died was a female. A post-mortem revealed that pneumonia, starvation and hypoglycaemic shock as the cause of death. The status of the fourth cub is unknown," the official said.

They said that the two rescued cubs will be moved to Roing and kept under observation until they are stable.

"The cubs will be put in a big enclosure in the forest with provisional food which will give them opportunities to hone their hunting skills on live prey and get habituated to the wild before we finally release them," said Dr. Bhaskar Choudhury, regional head and principal veterinarian, WTI northeast.

"Dibang valley is a very good tiger habitat and rich in wildlife. However, no studies have been done on this landscape; on the tiger or any other species. This area has the potential to even be declared a tiger reserve," said Mekola.

"People here consider tigers equal to humans. We should use this traditional belief to save the tigers here before things change for the worse," Mekola said.