This Valentine day, the Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) celebrated the fruition of a long struggle of a relocated tigress to make the wild her home, find a partner and have a family at last-something that has apparently never, ever happened anywhere in the world.

Field officials are euphoric on the successful breeding of T4, an orphaned, relocated tigress-claiming it to be a global first-and have decided to celebrate this valentine day as a tribute to her “labour of love”.

The orphaned tigress, relocated to PTR in 2006 from Kanha Tiger Reserve where she was being kept in an enclosure with her two siblings, not only became one with the wild with ease but also managed to find a partner (male tiger T3) and give birth to two cute cubs.

According to field officials, that is no mean feat. They are already calling the T4 as the “first lady” among tigresses of the world.

“It is a rare and beautiful story of survival whereby a hand-reared orphaned cub fulfilled her destiny to adapt to the wild and become a mother. The Panna Tiger Reserve proudly stands witness to this achievement—a first globally,” PTR field director R.S. Murthy told The Hindu.

As of now, there are five tigers-four females and a male-in the PTR, all reintroduced after 2009 when it was discovered that the reserve had no tigers left.

Of the four females, three have managed to breed successfully.

But, it is for the first time in the world, claim PTR officials that an orphaned tigress has mated successfully and given birth to two healthy cubs.

The development first came to light last December when a search-team sighted one of the cubs.

Recently, 6th February onwards, field officials noticed the T4 had started moving out and about with its two cubs.

On valentine day, the PTR team discovered two “perfect and separate tracts” of cub pugmarks, along with those of the T4 in the Madla Range of Panna Tiger Reserve.

Moved by the development, the PTR team dedicated the valentine day to all orphaned tiger cubs of the world and decided to observe 14th February as the ‘Orphaned Tiger Cubs Day’.

“Just three years ago, Panna was in the news for all the wrong reasons. But the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department and PTR team have turned the tables on the critics by achieving this rare feat,” said Mr. Murthy.

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