Initial investigations reveal that the pair, Runveer and Runbeer, seem to have crossed the secured perimeter of the park, into the adjoining forest area under the cover of darkness.
Park officials speculate that incessant selfies by tourists could be a reason why they chose to escape. The park, made famous by the movie Jungle Book, is popular with tourists who come looking for Sher Khan.
But lately, the menace of selfies seems to have affected the wild life in the park.
“We’ve had problems on previous occasions with selfie obsessed tourists. Be it the wild cats or birds that are found in the park. No one is exempt from some of these over-enthusiastic tourists,” said a senior official.
“We even had a man who climbed a tree to take a picture with rare species of birds. We had to pull him down literally before he created any more trouble,” the official added with raised eyebrows.
There have also been reports that park animals including tigers were seen hiding behind bushes the moment tourists were spotted.
The news made its way into the media with news channels carrying Special Report on the escape, even questioning the upkeep of the National Park.
Chief Administrative Officer of the park flatly dismissed the speculations and said that all animals in the park were well taken care of.
“We have been part of Project Tiger since 1992, there are 285 resident and migratory birds. Endangered vultures along with elusive leopards find their home in the park and till now we never had any problem with their co-existence,” he said with affirmation.
“Media needs to stop cooking up stories like this,” he said while hinting at another news report that White tigers in Bandhavgarh were using fairness creams to attract tourists.
Speaking on how the park left no stone unturned in meeting the demands of the tigers, he said, “Tigers are territorial creatures and possessive about their identity. A few weeks back these two missing tigers had gone on a hunger on strike asking a particular bollywood star with the name ‘Tiger’ to change his name.”
“Though the star didn’t oblige, we gave our wild cats Bollywood names instead just to quell their agitation,” he added, revealing how Runveer and Runbeer got their names.
With the focus now on locating the tiger and getting them back to the park, officials have got a tigress to somehow lure the two escaped tigers back. “I don’t think Runbeer and Runveer could have gone too far. So we have got Basanti the tigress to lure them back to the national park,” said the administrative officer.
Authorities were also mulling a total ban on selfies.
“These animals become very conscious in the presence of humans. Some tourists carry selfie sticks like they are guns. It is unsettling for the animals in the park. Hope tourists coming to get a glimpse of the tigers leave their selfie obsession behind and enjoy the wildlife that the park has to offer,” he added.
Click the link to know more about the wildlife in Pench.