One photo that soon went viral showing a tigress and her little cubs sparked new hope for animal conservationists.
A visitor Siddharth Singh, was able to capture the gorgeous sight during a safaris through the Dudhwa National Park in India. Soon after the image was shared on Twitter by Parveen Kaswan, the internet couldn’t get enough. Kaswan works for the Indian Forest Service and is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
To many the photo is simply just a beautiful picture of a mother and her babies, however for those who work in conservation, the image is a positive sign that their efforts are paying off.
The adorable photo was taken at Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary of the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, and shows five cubs happily trotting alongside their mother. Not only is the fact that there’s new life a hope for conservationists but also the fact that there are five baby cubs is joyful and new hope, as the average litter only has three cubs.
Singh visited the park with his son when it opened for the season, and had the honour of being the first to document this exceptional streak of tigers.
Singh explained to Times of India that, “We have been following this particular tigress for the past four years. We call her Beldanda female after the forest beat where she is generally sighted. She can easily be compared with Ramthambore’s tigress ‘Machali’ because she is extremely tourist-friendly and often walks on the road meant for tourist vehicles. Even on Saturday, we shot her video while she was sitting on the road and [she] didn’t panic despite watching us. After [a] few moments, she called her cubs and then we came to know that she has given birth to five cubs. Otherwise, [the] forest department had captured her picture with four cubs only.”
To ensure the cubs' safety, their exact location is not being disclosed and the route passing through the sanctuary has been closed to the public for the next six months. This will give the cubs a chance to grow and thrive without being disturbed. The family will also be monitored using camera traps. Dudhwa reserve field manager Sanjay Pathak emphasized the importance of isolation at this time in the cubs' development, as tigresses typically stay secluded to keep their cubs safe from male tigers other than the father, as well as poachers. By giving them space they need, the reserve is letting nature take its course.
WWF India is hopeful with the news of the new babies. “Five cubs are quite rare and definitely it is quite encouraging for us,” said state coordinator Dr. Mudit Gupta.
India’s tiger numbers, which is the home to 70% of the world's tigers, were up to 2,967 in 2018, which is a huge increase over the last tiger census, which counted 2,226 in 2014.
This huge success is due to government initiatives which included banning hunting and focusing more on education and awareness in villages around the country. The government has also invested heavily in hiring additional forest guards to ensure that all their wild life creatures are safe from danger, and with this adorable photo, the world is able to see that their efforts are indeed paying off.