Tiger dies at rescue centre
17 Aug 2008, 0419 hrs IST,TNN
JALPAIGURI: Karna, the Bengal Tiger whose tail had to be amputated after it was bitten by another tiger, died at Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary on Thursday night.
Karna died at the Khairbari Tiger Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, situated within the sanctuary. A team of three veterinary surgeons tried their best, but could not save the tiger as the bite on its tail had injured its coccyx. The veins connecting the tail to the spinal cord were also completely damaged.
Last Friday, Karna’s tail was hanging out of the cage he was in when Shyam, another tiger, pounced on it and bit it. Though Karna initially showed signs of improvement after doctors amputated his tail, the bite eventually proved fatal.
Vets, who usually push saline into a tiger’s body through veins in its tail, could barely push a bottle of saline into Karna after his tail had to be amputated.
“It is very difficult to locate veins in a tiger body, apart from its tail. Our doctors somehow managed to push a bottle of saline. But that wasn’t enough. The bite had injured Karna’s spinal cord and he also suffered an injury to his anus,” said N C Bahuguna, chief conservator of forests, wildlife.
The injury in the coccyx paralysed the tiger’s rear portion within 48 hours of the bite. Since the veins were completely damaged, flow of blood to Karna’s rear portion had also become irregular, which ultimately caused death.
Rhino killed: There was another death at the sanctuary on Thursday – a rhino. Officials suspect that the rhino was bitten by a king cobra. Its six-month-old calf is now roaming alone in the jungle.
“Our men have spotted the calf. We will keep an eye on it till it gets accustomed to the forest. We will allow it to live its own life without intervening,” Bahuguna said.
The Khairbari tiger rescue and rehabilitation centre was set up for circus tigers. Eleven tigers of Olympic Circus were taken there two years ago. With Karna’s death, the centre now houses 10 tigers.
The forest department is now planning to make the place safer for rescued tigers by raising nets between bars in the cages. This would prevent the possibility of a tiger’s tail jutting out from its cage.