UPDATED: Desperate attempt underway to reunite a wild tiger cub with its mother
UPDATE: 10.24.11 Our colleagues in northeast India are still working tirelessly to reunite an orphaned tiger cub with its mother. Sadly, there was no sign of the mother yesterday morning when the team went to back to check on the cub. It had not been fed yet as they were doing everything to minimize the chance of habituating the cub to humans, which would jeopardize her ability to survive in the wild, and also cause the scent of the cub to change, making it less likely for the mother to accept it back. However, as time goes on, it is essential that the cub receives nutrition to maintain its vigour.
The cub was therefore brought back to the IFAW Wildlife Rescue Center to be fed and receive a health exam. As time goes on, we are now walking a tightrope between the need to care for the cub, and the need to keep it away from human influence A total of six camera traps, provided by a local conservation group called Aaranyak , are being used to continue collecting signs of the mother, in case she re-visits the site. Later today, after another visit from our team, there was still no evidence of the tigress in any of the images captured by the hidden cameras.
However, in the first bit of hopeful news, the team did notice fresh tiger pugmarks nearby which they believe could be that of the mother. Today we're moving the cage location to a nearby area with thicker foliage. An encouraging development is that now, after being fed, the cub is more active and louder than ever before which increases the chances of its mother hearing her cries for help. On the other hand, it also means that potential predators can also hear those cries.
To protect the tiger cub, we are placing her in a concealed metal cage with enough of a barrier to fend off potential intruders but no match for mother. We are doing everything in our power to both protect the tiger cub and offer her the best chance of a reunion with her mother and a life in the wild. We will keep you informed of the ongoing efforts, visit www.ifaw.org today to learn more about our projects to save wildlife in crisis around the world.
Original Post: 10.22.11 Late Friday afternoon, I received the news that a Royal Bengal tiger cub was found by forest officials in Kaziranga National Park in the northeast state of Assam, India. Our staff at the IFAW Wildlife Rescue Center rushed to the scene and found a four week-old female cub. Forest guards patrolling in the park stumbled upon the newborn cat and did not find any trace of its mother. The guards left it there for an entire day thinking that the mother would come to pick her cub up, but as she did not, they brought the tiger to a range office and called our team of vets.
Two hours later, our team arrived on site. The cub was in relative good health, just moderately dehydrated. This cub is very special, not only as an individual but also because there are only an estimated 3,000 wild tigers surviving in a few scattered pickets of habitat in Asia. The last update from the field tells us that heavy rains prevented the team from venturing out this afternoon and so they will go out to attempt a reunion before dawn tomorrow. We’re all wishing for a miracle now, a successful reunion between mother and cub so that they can go on with their lives in the wild.
Alternatively, the cub will need to be reared artificially just to survive and will sadly not be releasable. These are very dramatic times for us and specially our team in India and we wish them luck. -- IR