The Maharashtra forest department has brought four elephants from Kanha Sanctuary to capture the two cubs of tigress Avni who was killed last month. While Avni, who the government claimed had turned man-eater and killed a dozen people in Yavatmal district's Pandharkavda area, was shot dead on November 2, her cubs, christened C1 and C2, are missing.
The killing of the tigress had kicked up a huge controversy, with wildlife activists blasting the state government. Now, elephants from Kanha Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh have been `commissioned' to capture the two half-adult cubs, the local forest department official said. According to forest officials, the cubs are capable of hunting on their own.
The four pachyderms -- Shiva, Pavanputra, Chanchalkali and Himalaya -- reached Darathi base camp Tuesday. They would be used to search for the cubs within Anji-Ralegaon forest belt, where trap cameras have noticed the cubs' movement. The forest department has put up a wire fencing to restrict the cubs's movement.
"We have set up 110 trap cameras and 54 Pressure Impression Pads in the area to keep track of the cubs' movement. On select locations we have tied goats for them to feed on," said the official.
During the hunt for their mother, an elephant had been brought in from Tadoba Sanctuary, but it became violent and attacked and killed a tribal woman in Ralegaon tehsil. The elephant was then sent back.
(With inputs from agencies.)