BHOPAL: Barely five days after it mauled a man to death, an old tiger Bokha died in Bandhavgarh tiger reserve in Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh on Friday. This has put the authorities in a bind given that this was the second big cat’s death in a short span of 20 days in the park.
After the 14-year-old Bokha was found dead with injury marks on its body on Friday, the Madhya Pradesh forest department authorities have armed themselves with proof to convince National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) that the big cat died due to injuries it sustained in a “territorial fight” and old age.
The death has come a couple of days after the NTCA asked the forest departments, across the country, to treat every big cat death as a case of poaching – unless proven otherwise.
“The dead tiger did not have a canine tooth but there were bite marks on its left leg and back. On May 27, Bokha at Kushwar village had mauled a man who died after some hours. Since then our staff kept a watch on it,” reserve filed director C K Patil told TOI.
“Our staffers, from time to time, gave the big cat medicines. It ate two goats on Friday and walked some 4 to 5 km before it slumped near a water body and died,” he added. He ruled out the possibility of big cat being poisoned by the nearby villagers to avenge the man’s death recently.
Bokha had died of injuries and old age and nothing should be read into it, Patil said.
“With Bokha’s death, we have lost all the old big cats. Last year, tiger B – 2 died,” the director said.
According to him, one among the two young tigers had attacked Bokha. “These two tigers want to form their territories,” he added.
He said that they are going to prove to the NTCA that it was a natural death and not a poaching case. Short post-mortem report too states that it was a natural death.
“We are going to get the detailed autopsy report on Monday which would be forwarded to the NTCA,” Patil said. About the young big cat’s death on May 12, he said it too died in a territorial fight.