Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: In a sad incident, four tiger cubs reportedly died due to starvation in Chandrapur district in Maharashtra.
The heart-wrenching incident happened when their mother went missing in the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) Pathri range in Saoli tehsil. On being informed, the forest officials had searched the area and found another cub which was alive. It was taken to Chandrapur for treatment, but it did not survive.
Taking a dim view of the death of four tiger cubs, Maharashtra government has decided to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising CBI and forest department officials to probe the disappearance of the cubs' mother.
State forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar was quoted as saying: “The mother of these 2-3 weeks old cubs suddenly disappeared due to which the cubs had not been fed for last three days”.
"The question before us now is to find out what happened to their mother, whether the tigress has been hunted by poachers or some local farmer has done mischief. There are other possibilities like the tigress dying of thirst or falling into a well also," he added.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday demanded that Maharashtra forest minister should take moral responsibility for the incident.
The Sena also said that in view of the incident, the government should start a nutritious food scheme for tigresses, that would help in saving lives of the big cats and
"The cubs died because of a territory dispute between the Forest Department and Forest Development Corporation," an editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' said on Tuesday.
"On one hand the government has much publicised its tiger conservation scheme and on the other, the forest department could not stop cubs from dying due to malnutrition. If this
continues, how will these government schemes work?" the ruling ally sought to know.
"Sudhir Mungantiwar holds the forest portfolio and the cubs have died in his home district. Thus, it is his moral responsibility now," the Sena said.
It further said that, "The government should start a nutritious food scheme for tigresses so that lives of tigers, tigresses and their cubs can be saved."
The government needs to make efforts to immediately find the missing tigress (the mother of the four dead cubs) and if it has been poached, the poachers should be given the strictest possible punishment, it said.
The Sena also demanded strict punishment for those responsible for the death of the tiger cubs.
(With Agency inputs)