Patna, May 10: A Royal Bengal Tiger died after being ensnared in a trap, suspected to have been laid by poachers from neighbouring Nepal, at the Valmiki Tiger Reserve today.
The nine-foot-long, brown-and-black striped male, whose front limb was caught in the steel trap last night, succumbed to injuries around 12.30pm in the Madanpur range today after forest officials failed to reach on time with medical aid.
With the death of this tiger ? it was 20 years old ? the reserve now has only 32 big cats. In 1997, the count was 53.
The chief conservator of forests, Bharat Joshi, conceded that medical help could not reach the big cat on time and he “died because of severe stress”. A case under the Wildlife Protection Act has been registered against unknown persons.
About 230km from here, the Valmiki reserve in West Champaran is the 18th forest reserve in the country and is spread over 880.78sqkm in north Bihar. Close to the Chitwan National Park of Nepal, its core area of 335.6sqkm was declared a national park in 1989.
“Poachers from adjoining Nepal may be behind the incident,” said West Champaran district forest officer Surendra Singh. “We have started a manhunt and will keep tabs on suspected poachers.”
Security at the Valmiki reserve, home to leopards, fishing cats, sambhars, hog deer, spotted deer, black bucks and sloth bears, has always been porous.