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Tigress Avni's Offspring Dies 8 Days After Release into Wild in Maharashtra's Nagpur

Representative image of a tiger cub. (Reuters)

Representative image of a tiger cub. (Reuters)

On Saturday evening, the animal's health deteriorated and the veterinary team advised to shift it to a medical facility at Gorewada in Nagpur.

A female offspring of tigress Avni, who was shot dead in 2018 after being declared man- eater, has died during treatment of injuries following an internecine fight at a forest here in Maharashtra, officials said on Sunday. The three-year-old offspring, named PTRF-84, was on March 5 released in the Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Nagpur after over two years of "re-wilding" efforts, they said.

However, the feline was retrieved from the wild on March 8 after it received injuries on its right foreleg following an internecine fight, PTR's Chief Conservator of Forest and Field Director Ravikiran Govekar said in a release. The big cat was kept in an enclosure at Titralmangi in the PTR and was being monitored and treated daily by veterinary experts, he said.

On Saturday evening, the animal's health deteriorated and the veterinary team advised to shift it to a medical facility at Gorewada in Nagpur. "Preparations were immediately made, but the tigress died around 10 pm on Saturday," the official said.

The autopsy of the carcass will be carried out as per standard operating procedures of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), he added. The feline was brought to the PTR as an orphaned cub on December 22, 2018, following a rescue operation. After that, the animal was housed in 5.11 hectares of enclosure for over two years, Govekar earlier said.

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After it was released into the wild earlier this month, the radio-collared tigress was being monitored round- the-clock using VHF (very high frequency) tracking and satellite telemetry, he had said. Later, following confirmation of its fight with another tigress last Monday, veterinarians opined that the injury may affect its movements in the forest.

Hence, a decision was taken to tranquilise it after consulting principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden, the official said. "This kind of an interaction with another tiger after the release was anticipated and anemergency retrieval plan was already provided in the original release plan submitted to the NTCA," he said.

Over the last two years, as part of the 're-wilding' lessons, the tigress spent most of its time in the enclosure, learning to hunt, the official added. Its mother, tigress Avni, believed to have been responsible for the death of 13 people in Maharashtra, was shot dead in Yavatmal district in November 2018 as part of an operation.

first published:March 14, 2021, 11:47 IST