Do our tigers have to die like this?

Do our tigers have to die like this?

Published: Sunday, Sep 19, 2010, 11:12 IST
By MK Madhusoodan Place: Bangalore Agency: DNA

You will not hear her roar. At 4am on Saturday, a cub died at Bannerghatta Biological Park, raising a lot of questions about the cause of her death. Was her food infected? Did anyone engineer it? Why?

Exactly a week ago, a tiger had died in the park and many fell sick. Post-mortem reports say the deaths and the sickness are a result of salmonella and E coli-related enteritis. But sources familiar with the situation say the needle of suspicion points to a meat suppliers’ cartel, which might have intentionally supplied carcass meat to the current supplier.

Also, the quality of meat is never checked daily at the park. Sources say the supplier, who procures meat from many channels, may not have checked the meat quality before supplying it to the park.

“There is only one veterinarian who checks the quality of the meat brought to the park. It’s impossible for him to check samples on the spot before it’s fed to animals (such as tigers),” says a park employee, hinting that a suppliers’ cartel is responsible for the deaths.

“Although we have a report from the Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals (IAHVB), stating the deaths may be due to salmonella infection, we fear it’s a case of sabotage. Surely, the suppliers’ cartel is a suspect. The supplier might have procured meat — chicken or beef — of deceased animals, consumption of which resulted in these deaths,” say the sources.

“Nearly one tonne of meat is supplied every day, so it’s big business. Those who wanted to spoil the meat supplier’s fortunes might have indulged in mischief, which resulted in these deaths,” say sources. Only a probe can tell us whether the meat was deliberately contaminated. It could also point out the dire need for tighter quality controls.

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