Thu, May 22 02:33 AM
Though four tigresses with 15 cubs have been sighted in the forests of Vidarbha, Forest Department officials say they have decided to close the sensitive sighting areas to tourists, whose unruly behaviour threatens to upset the delicate balance of the area. The move to ban tourists comes in the wake of a disturbing incident in the Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary on May 10 when 41 vehicles clogged a small section of the tourist track to see a tigress and her young cubs.
The tourists started shouting and jumping out of their vehicles to get close to the animals, ignoring the warnings of the guides and forest staffers. In a state of panic, the tigress ran to the safer side of the road, leaving her two cubs stranded on the other side. Before the mother could help them cross, two bisons started chasing the five-month old cubs inside the forest even as the tigress watched helplessly.
Shockingly, the local staff didn’t inform the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) B Majumdar about the incident. “I had no report till Monday, but when I investigated, I found that the incident had indeed happened. I have asked the Field Directors of all three tiger reserves (Pench, Melghat and Tadoba-Andhari) and the chiefs of other protected areas to use their discretion in barricading the sensitive areas where tigresses are staying with their cubs,” Majumdar said.
Divisional Forest Officer (Gondia) S V Allurwar, who controls Nagzira, confirmed the incident, and said that the cubs were safe. “Only yesterday, were they sighted with the mother by my staff,” he added.
Meanwhile, a tigress with four cubs, about one-year-old each, was sighted by the passengers of a bus near Bularghat in Melghat area last month. “Another tigress with three cubs, about one-year-old, has been sighted in Koha area of Melghat,” Field Director B S Hooda told The Indian Express.