Cubs help tiger tribe flourish in MP

Bhopal: The Panna Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, which gained notoriety for mysterious disappearance of its big cats, is flourishing with tiger cubs again, rejoicing the success of its unique translocation experiment to revive their population.

"The Tiger Reserve has seven cubs and five adult tigers in its wild after the launch of an experiment involving breeding of translocated wild cats and rehabilitation of orphaned cubs," Panna Tiger Reserve Director, R S Murthy told PTI.

The reserve has four female and a male tiger in its kitty and all of them have well adjusted to their new environment. The number of tiger cubs in other reserves across the state is also looking up.

Kanha Tiger Reserve at present has 21-23 tiger cubs while the Pench Tiger Reserve boasts of having another 21 or more. "At present we have 21-23 tiger cubs in the different age groups wandering with their mothers in the forest," Kanha Tiger Reserve Director, J S Chouhan said. Kanha has at present nearly 70 or more tigers in its wild as per the official figures, he said.

Pench Tiger Reserve Director, Alok Kumar said that in the year 2010-11, nearly 21 tiger cubs were sighted by the forest staff in different zones of the reserve. They are in the age group of 5-6 months to over one year old, Kumar said. A tiger is normally considered adult when it attains the age of two-and-a-half year and also when it separates from its mother.

The last tiger census of Madhya Pradesh stood at 257 while in Karnataka the count was 300 following which the central state lost its coveted "Tiger State" status to the southern counterpart.

Madhya Pradesh objected to the figures released by the WII and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) after which the big cats were again re-counted in Kanha Tiger Reserve, a senior forest official said.

In order to find out the exact number of tiger population in the country, the NTCA has decided to conduct tiger census every year in the Tiger Reserves and every four year in other forest areas as usual, the official said.

Madhya Pradesh has Pench, Panna, Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Satpuda, Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserves. After the last Tiger census, the population of big cat was estimated at 1706 in the country.