Did Bandhavgarh tiger choke to death?
Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN, May 20, 2010, 06.30am IST
NAGPUR: Tiger conservation took a hit on Tuesday when one death was reported inside the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, 475 kms from Nagpur.
This is the 18th tiger death in India since January and comes at a time when census readings are being studied to check if the tally of 1411 from the count four years ago has gone up or down. The new figure will be announced by the Wildlife Institute of India in October this year.
The incident took place at 10am in Zurzura in Tala Range of the reserve. There are conflicting claims not only about the reasons of death but also of the tiger’s sex.
Some tourists from Nagpur told TOI that the tiger had died due to suffocation after its neck got entangled in a wire snare which may have been put by villagers to trap herbivores. Others claimed the tiger was hit by a tourist vehicle and died due to injuries.
Forest officials, however, rule out both the possibilities and are giving a completely different view.
CK Patil, field director & conservator of forests at Bandhavgarh, feels that the tiger – a male according to him — could have died in a territorial fight. He denied that it was injured and attacked tourists’ vehicles.
Patil was also emphatic that the tiger did not have had wire snares on its neck.
Contradicting his boss’ claims, JN Shukla, the Tala range forest officer (RFO), told TOI the dead animal was a three-year-old female and there were no external injury marks on its body. This clearly indicates that the tiger did not die in a territorial fight as is being claimed by Patil.