A speeding passenger train killed a tiger cub while another cub was seriously injured near Kelzhar railway station, a buffer zone of Tadoba tiger reserves in eastern Maharashtra district of Chandrapur, some 180 kms from Nagpur on Monday morning.
The tigress and one of her cubs succeeded to cross the track but other two cubs failed to cross in time and the train hit them. One of them died on the spot while another was seriously injured. The incident occurred at 6:15 am.
SWH Naqvi, the principal chief conservator of forests (Wildlife) and state wildlife warden informed that the injured cub was rescued by a team of forest personnel and was shifted to Wildlife Rescue Centre at Nagpur on Monday evening.
The injured tiger cub is reported to be very serious. The deceased cub was around six months old, he added.
The passenger train was on its way to Gondia from Chandrapur when the accident took place. The body of the cub was taken away for post mortem by the forest personnel.
Kishore Rithe, member of National Board for Wildlife, insisted that action should be taken against the railway personnel for not keeping the speed low in such a sensitive area. “We have demanded that limited trains with slow speed should operate near the forest areas. But they do not listen,” he rued.
According to Rithe, similar incidents were also reported in the area. The last such incident was reported when a sloth bear was killed after a speeding train hit it. A leopard was also killed a couple of years ago in this area in a similar manner, he further said.
With the death of this tiger cub, as many as 17 big cats were killed within Tadoba tiger reserves area in last 10 years. Most of them were victims of poachers.
Tadoba is the lone tiger reserves in the country where tigresses had given births of 38 cubs since January 2010.
The state wildlife warden, Naqvi said that the wildlife wing has booked the railway authorities under various sections of Protection of Wildlife Act.
According to the 2010 census, the tiger population has gone up from 103 in 2006 to 169 in 2010 in Maharashtra. Wildlife experts estimate that the tiger population has now touched 200 mark in the state and in Tadoba tiger reserve it stands at 69, a jump of 16 from the previous count of 53. Tadoba is probably the first tiger reserve in the country to spot as many as 38 tiger cubs since January 2010.
There are four tiger projects in the state – Melghat, Tadoba, Pench (all in Vidarbha) and Sahyadri (Western Maharashtra). Of them, Tadoba tiger reserve, one of the country’s oldest national parks, was in the news recently for better wild cat conservation and birth of 38 tiger cubs in the area since January 2010. The reserve is spread over 623 sq kms of high hills and lush valleys covered with dense teak and bamboo forests. It is also the home to wild dogs, leopards, sloth bears, bison and hyenas and jungle cats, apart from 69 tigers.