Bhopal, Feb 6 (PTI) In a bid to improve the survival chances of the three 40-days-old orphaned tiger cubs, the Bandhavgarh tiger reserve authorities have placed a cuddly ‘dummy toy tigress’ as their substitute mother. Also Read - 6 Charged Under NSA Over Illicit Liquor Trade in Bhopal

The specially-designed toy tigress, which the cubs consider as their real mother, has been kept in an enclosure n the forest and is fitted with synthetic nipples and a milk bottle to feed the baby tigers. Also Read - Domestic Flights: IndiGo to Start Services to Agra From Bengaluru, Bhopal From March 28

The mother of the three cubs was found dead on January 19 in a non-forest area in Shahdol district. Five people had been arrested for allegedly electrocuting the tigress. Also Read - Surat-Kolkata IndiGo Flight Makes Emergency Landing in Bhopal

“The cubs were born about 40 days back. After locating the strayed cubs following the killing of their mother, we placed them in an enclosure in the forest area, where this specially-designed dummy toy tigress was kept,” Director of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve Mridul Pathak said.

“The dummy tigress has been fitted with artificial nipples and milk bottle hidden in the foam and cotton wool.

After the initial hiccups, the cubs started to suckle as if they are having it from their own mother,” he said.

The cubs were initially hand-fed milk and required medicines by the forest department staff. However, the administration later decided to reduce the human interference.

“In a bid to reduce the human interference, we decided to keep the cubs with the dummy toy tigress,” Pathak said.

He said the cubs now play with the dummy just as they would play with their mother.

“Surprisingly, the cubs consider the dummy tigress as their mother. They not only get food through this dummy tigress, but they also play with it. But, more is required to reduce human interference further and we are thinking in this direction,” Pathak said. MORE

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.