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Tiger cub found dead in Ranthambore

A 10–11-month-old male cub of tigress T8, resident of zone 6 & 7 was found dead yesterday morning by forest patrol team. As per eyewitness, two tigers one male & one female were seen fighting during the morning safari on 6th March by tourists in the Kundaal area of zone 6. Since then, the tigress was sighted with one cub only around the same spot. The Forest department started a search operation yesterday morning & they found the mutilated body of a male cub under a ficus tree.  There were injury marks all over the body. The neck bone, the femur and the ribs were found cracked and the kidney was found punctured during postmortem conducted later.

This was third litter of T8 along with her partner & resident male T34. Her cubs from first litter one male & one female were born in 2011 had separated around 2013. While the female cub numbered T61 had settled in the Balas range of park which was part of her mother’s territory, male cub T62 had to move out of park sometime around monsoon of 2013.

She was sighted with a single cub around November 2013 in the Balas area but the cub did not survive and then she had given birth to this litter, sighted with 3-month-old cubs for the first time on 4th June 2014 in zone 7.

Who’s the culprit ??- Drawing conclusions by stitching eyewitness accounts of fight and injury marks found in post-mortem reports it looks like this cub was killed by another wild animal, most probably another tiger. Since the possibility of a male tiger killing, it’s own cubs are remote, T34 the resident male probably is not involved. Also, the fact that Tiger was seen fighting with T8 on 6th March was looking more like a sub-adult, my suspicion is on T58.

This 4-year-old sub-adult male cub born in the Indaala area of the park had moved to the Balas area around early 2013. While he has been settled with daughter of T8 in this area, growing confidence and desire to have more mating partners could be the reason behind this move to conquer more area and this conflict.

So how does one confirm this- Ideally the tiger involved in fight should also be injured as mother can go to any extent to protect the young ones, so if T58 is sighted with any possible injury marks his involvement would be beyond doubt.

Forest team is conducting intensive patrolling in nearby areas for more clues on this.

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