Maharashtra to ascertain if tiger found in Telangana is Jai

Seven-year-old Jai was named after Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan's character in the 1975 hit film Sholay.

Mumbai: The state government has sought footage from Telangana to ascertain if a tiger spotted in that state’s forests is Jai, the famous big cat who went missing in April from a wildlife sanctuary near Nagpur.

“Some local news channels in Telangana have reported that Jai had been spotted in a forest area there. We have thus sought help from the Telangana government to send us a video of the tiger who has been seen there,” said Sudhir Mungantiwar, state forest minister. “Once they send us the video footage, our officials will verify if it is indeed the same tiger on which we had put an electronic collar. Once certain, our officials will go there and bring the tiger back,” Mr Mungantiwar.

Seven-year-old Jai, who was named after Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s character in the 1975 hit film Sholay, was in limelight some years ago after it had embarked upon a 150-km journey from Nagzira-Navegaon tiger reserve to Umred forest, crossing several villages, rivers and the Mumbai-Kolkata National Highway, in pursuit of a mate.

Mr Mungantiwar had earlier written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to direct the CBI to trace the missing 250-kg big cat, which was last spotted in Umred Karhandla wildlife sanctuary near Nagpur on April 18 this year.

India is home to around 2,200 tigers, representing 70 per cent of the total population around the world of the endangered carnivore. Earlier, there were speculations that Jai may have been wounded in a fight with another tiger, poached by hunters involved in illegal trade of endangered wildlife species or fallen sick. The state’s tiger population, which was 169 in 2010, went up to 190 in 2015. Out of this, 70-odd tigers are accounted for in the Tadoba tiger reserve.

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