Avni's cubs spotted; Efforts intensified to track down

Avni's cubs spotted; Efforts intensified to track down

Nearly two weeks after tigress Avni was shot dead, her two cubs have been sighted between the Vihirgaon and Anji Dam stretch of the Pandhakawada forests in Yavatmal district. 

This comes as a relief for the Maharashtra Forest Department that is making efforts to track down the two cubs.

Following the sighting, efforts have been intensified to secure the two cubs.  Securing the cubs is a major challenge for Maharashtra's Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, who is in the line of fire for putting down Avni (T1).

The two cubs, aged between 11 to 12 months, have so far eluded the rescue teams.

The two cubs had been missing since November 2 night after Avni, who was dubbed as a man-eater after being linked to 13 human deaths in the Pandharkawada area of Yavatmal district, was shot dead — leading to a nationwide furore.

While the tracking teams had seen the cubs near Vihirgaon, they were caught in a camera near Anji Dam.

"We are making all efforts to secure them. No stone is being left unturned," Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Sunil Limaye said.

Meanwhile, a leopard rescue team from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park of Mumbai, too, has joined the rescue efforts.

"We have set up camera traps and food has been kept... we are trying to lure them... we have to secure them safely," Limaye said.

The entire area is being scanned and a wide circumference has been mapped around the place where Avni was shot. Mungantiwar was briefed in detail about the sighting of the two cubs and what efforts are being made to secure them.

On a regular basis, reports are being sent to the National Tiger Conservation Authority of the Centre's Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. More than 200 officers and men of the Forest department are working to secure the two cubs, officials said.