Tiger cubs still not safe

No one knows how to take care

The tiger cubs recovered on Monday from the house of a wildlife trader are kept in a small bird cage at a private zoo in the capital yesterday.Photo: STAR

The fate of the three tiger cubs rescued on Monday from a wildlife smuggler’s house in the capital is in the hands of experts who will sit this afternoon to decide their destination.

One of the cubs, which are for now kept in a private mini zoo at Hatirpul in Dhaka, has already fallen sick and is too weak to stand.

Asked why those cubs were handed over to a private zoo, Rab Magistrate ASM Anawar Pasha said he had contacted the Dhaka Zoo authorities and many other government wildlife organisations but no one wanted to take their responsibility.

The forest department then formed a committee of five experts to decide where and how the tiger cubs should be reared since it also lacks expertise to deal with such young tiger cubs.

Suggested by a veterinary surgeon, Malekur Rahman of Dulahazara safari park, the cubs are being fed on milk powder four times a day and fine-chopped meat for once.

“I have no experience in dealing with tiger cubs, but once took care of lion cubs as those were born in the safari park,” he said.

Yesterday, the cubs were seen in a cage beside a cage of a gray parrot. The veterinarian said he feared that the cubs could get an infection from birds.

Meanwhile, the environment and forest minister said an international wildlife trafficking ring was active in the country. On Monday, the trafficker’s son Zakir Hossain, who was arrested with the cubs, told the press that the animals had been brought in from the Sundarbans for Tapan Kumar Dey, chief of wildlife section of the forest department.

In a press release issued yesterday, Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) Yunus Ali outright rejected any forest official’s links with the trafficking network.

The members of the experts team are Anawarul Islam, executive secretary of Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh; CCF Yunus Ali; Ishtiaq, country representative of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); wildlife expert Anisuzzaman Khan, and tiger expert Manirul H Khan.