A male tiger, caught in a jaw trap in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR), allegedly died on Saturday. It was trapped by a professional gang of wildlife hunters. If this report is true, then it will be the second tiger to die at the reserve in the last three days. Though the forest officials denied any such death, an insider told Deccan Chronicle that a male tiger was found dead on the road to Kalkere Forest Guest House in front of the road leading to Kerala.
“The dead tiger was discovered by the patrolling watchers on the main road inside the forest and the matter was brought to the notice of Reserve officials. The tiger was disposed inside the forest and no one knows the exact location where the tiger was buried or burnt. This incident took place within a day after forest officials had discovered a carcass of another tiger which had died of old age,” the official said.
The official alleged that when a tiger dies, which is protected under schedule I of Wildlife protection Act along with leopards, elephants, lions and many other fauna, the postmortem process needs to be videographed in the presence of wildlife veterinarians, NGOs members and forest officials. But this procedure was not followed in the recent case of killing with a jaw trap. “Last year over 100 jaw traps were discovered on the fringes of Bandipur Reserve. The department did not pay much heed to the fact that professional hunters are lurking around the area with jaw traps to hunt down tigers. Incidentally, Bandipur has the highest density of tigers in the country. Organised poaching is a threat to survival of tigers in the forests,” said a conservationist.
“Dozens of tigers and lions have succumbed to jaw traps across the Protection Areas of India, known to be laid by specialised tribesmen – Khatnis – from Madhya Pradesh. Death of a tiger in the core zone of Bandipur Tiger Reserve (Kalkere Range) is quite alarming as it means an organised gang comprising these tribesmen from Khatni area are eyeing tigers and leopards from the forests of Karnataka.,” the wildlife conservationist added.
When contacted Deputy Conservator of Forest of Bandipur Reserve, Hanumanthappa said: “It’s a conspiracy against our efforts and there has been no such case of jaw trap death of tiger.”