Poachers electrocute tigress in Indian Tiger Reserve, Now dummy mother comforts, feeds 3 rescued cubs

Dummy mother tiger at India's Tiger reserve

Photo: Asian Age

A tigress, mother of three cubs, found dead on January 19, 2017 in the Bandhavgarh National Tiger Reserve in central Indian state Madhya Pradesh. The reserve is known for dense population of royal Bengal Tigers. Five poachers had electrocuted her. The culprits were arrested. The poachers had buried the killed tigress in the forest as officials had spotted them. The post-mortem of the tigress revealed delivery of three cubs very recently. Thereafter, a big rescue operation was initiated until the cubs were found.

The wildlife officials fortunately traced the orphaned cubs, saving them from dying either by falling prey to other animals or starve to death. They were given medicine and nursed at the Park.

The officials didn’t want them to become tamed and feared their domestication due to frequent human interference. So, the question was how to feed 40-days-old cubs.

For this, the officials came out with a life-size dummy mother tigress that is specially fitted with milk-bottles. Only nipples are visible and accessible from outside. The cubs can actually suck these nipples for milk. The dummy mother has worked well so far.

After initial hiccups the cubs started to suckle as if they are having it from their own mother. In a bid to reduce the human interference, we decided to keep the cubs with the dummy toy tigress,

said Mridul Pathak, director of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.

The toy tigress is being modified to further reduce the human interference, Pathak said.

Moreover, the toy is made to smell like a real tigress with the use of some grass and tiger stool. Presently, we have to remove the dummy tigress to fill the milk bottle attached to it, but we are now planning to fix this bottle through a pipe so that levels of milk in the bottle could be maintained without human interference,

he further added.

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