JAIPUR: A mutilated, maggot-eaten carcass of a tiger was recovered the Gilai Saga-Khadar area of the Ranthambore tiger reserve in Sawai Madhopur district on Sunday morning. Officials claimed that the tiger, suspected to be male tiger T-27, died in a territorial fight but activists do not rule out the possibilities of it having being poached or killed by humans. The body of the tiger was found behind the Khandar fort in the forest area.
Forest officials rule out poaching
“The terribly mutilated body of the tiger was found behind the Khandar fort in the forest area. Since the canine was worn out we presume it was an old tiger. There were also pug marks of another tiger in the vicinity,” said YK Sahu divisional forest officer, DFO Ranthambore.
Officials said the tiger was found dead by the forest guard during the morning tracking on Sunday. The body is at least 48 hours old and has been eaten by scavengers. The Khandar area is not known to be any particular tiger’s territory and tigers are known to traverse through this area. But the area adjoining it is also populated by human beings. Sources disclosed that none of the villagers in the area complained of noise that emanates when tigers fight between themselves.
“It is natural for forest officials to blame all tiger deaths to territorial fights. In this case too the forest officials just took the help of revenue officials, who are no experts in wildlife. Rather an independent team of wildlife experts should have been formed after the detection of the carcass which would have been better placed to decide if the tiger was killed in a territorial fight or poached away,” wildlife activists, who did not want to be named, said.
But forest officials ruled out poaching and said that the autopsy reports have revealed canine marks on the tiger’s neck and samples have been taken for forensic tests. Activists, however, refuted the claims, “It is their word against ours. It is unfortunate that no one else in the know of wildlife was present at the moment other than the department people.”
Besides, none of the body parts of the tiger were found. There were pugmarks of hyena and the body of the tiger has been eaten by scavengers and maggots. “Forty eight hours is the least possible time that the tiger was killed. It is winter and during this time bodies rot away slowly but the tiger’s body was all maggot eaten already,” added activists. Territorial fights are not uncommon in Ranthambore where the big cat population is fast outgrowing the park area.