'Mausi' tigress protects and trains cubs of her dead sister in Madhya Pradesh National Park

02:07 PM Aug 22, 2022 | PTI |

Madhya Pradesh: In a rare show of maternal sentiments among wild animals, a tigress in a Madhya Pradesh National Park has not only been taking care of three cubs of her dead sister along with four of her own but also giving them precedence in hunting training.


The ‘Mausi’ (maternal aunt) tigress – named T28 – has become a centre of attraction at the Sanjay Dubri National Park and Tiger Reserve in Sidhi district for the way she has been taking care of her sister’s cubs.

It was not an easy journey for the four cubs born to tigress T18. One of them fell prey to an adult tiger right after the death of their mother in a train accident.

However, the maternal aunt of the three surviving cubs – T28 – took it upon herself to see that not only the little ones survived but had the proper training to get on in the fiercely competitive jungle world.

“We received information that a big cat was lying near railway tracks in the reserve’s core area of Dubri range on March 16 this year. A forest department team reached the spot and found it was tigress T18,” Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve’s Field Director YP Singh told PTI.


After being rescued, the seriously injured T18 was released from a cage the next day following treatment, but it was hard for the big cat to move and finally, she died a few hours later, he said.

Singh said, “After this, our major concern was the safety of T18’s four cubs, who were nine-month-old at that time. Elephant-mounted patrolling teams were pressed for their monitoring and prey was given to them but unfortunately, an adult tiger killed one of these four cubs.” This incident further increased concern about the safety of the remaining cubs, the officer said.

“The area where these cubs of T18 were staying then became the domain of an adult tiger named T26,” the reserve’s field director said.

Singh said T18 was born in the first litter to tigress T11, popularly known as Kamli because of the lotus sign on her head along with T16 (a male big cat) and T17 (a tigress). Kamli, in another litter, gave birth to two tigresses T28 and T29.

The reserve’s field director said T18 was first spotted with her four cubs in June last year, while her sister T17 gave birth to a litter of three cubs around October 2021.

Similarly, their other siblings, T28 and T29, also gave birth to three cubs each in October last year and January this year, respectively, he said.

So, Kamli’s clan – four tigresses, including T18 – gave birth to 13 cubs during a period of eight months, he said.

Singh said after the death of T18 and the subsequent killing of one of her four cubs by an adult tiger, the remaining three cubs were initially seen with tigress T17 and her little ones, giving relief to the reserve management which was constantly monitoring their movement.


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