JAIPUR: While there is reason enough for the forest department to rejoice the increasing tiger population in the state, its inaction over bringing back big cats that have strayed out of the forest has irked conservationists. The rebuff comes in the wake of little efforts from the department in bringing back a five-year-old tigress that had strayed to Kota from the Ranthambore tiger reserve.
"That it's a tigress is a reason to worry. While it may be common for sub-adult males to stray into areas outside the park but this big cat is a female that can become a mother. Therefore it is not just a question of one tigress but also the litter of cubs she produces," a conservationist said. In January 2010, the tigress had moved out of the Ranthambore tiger reserve. A team of officials had been hot on its trail in January. But with the tiger settling down in the ravines of the Kalisind river on the border of Kota and Baran districts, there has been little effort in bringing it back.
Sub-adults, especially males stray out of the forest in search of a territory. They generally return but this tigress hasn't.
It may be natural for tigers to stray out but there is a fear of poaching, too.
"The Kota tigress is a potential mother and could have added to the baby boom that the park has seen this year," he added. The Ranthambore national park after a dry year when no cubs were born, this year had 17 cubs taking the estimated population of the big cat in the park to about 50. A census is on at the park.
There are at least five tigers that have been missing from the park and three tigers have migrated to other areas. The missing tigers are T-21 or the Chiroli male, T-27 or the Gilai Sagar female, T-29 of Berda, T-40 or the Berda male and T-43 the second Jhailkho male cub. And the strayed ones are T-35 a tigress which is in Kota, T-38 or the Sultanpur male that has migrated to Kuno in Madhya Pradesh while T-47 has made Dholpur its home.
Officials of the department while accepting that not much effort was being made in this regard, assured that the tigress was fine. "The tigress is being monitored and she is okay," the officials said.