Sugarcane mafia made tiger death look ‘unnatural’?

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Sugarcane mafia made tiger death look ‘unnatural’?

Neha Shukla , TNN, 9 January 2010, 04:28am IST

LUCKNOW: There is a possibility that the tiger which was found lying dead in north Kheri forest on Wednesday morning was not killed. The big cat could have died its natural death and its carcass “was planted near forest outpost by sugarcane mafia” to convey otherwise.

Is there any truth in this new theory? If yes, who could be behind it? The inquiry set up by the forest department might come out with more on that. But till that time Kheri officials are mincing no words in calling it “malafide intentions” of sugarcane growers at the place.

An adult male tiger was found dead near Paraspur forest outpost in Sampoornanand range of north Kheri. Foresters had arrested a man from the spot and searched his mobile records. “We will not allow illegal encroachment and malafide intentions of sugarcane growers cannot deter us,” said K K Singh, DFO, north Kheri.

It has been months now since Kheri forest division has been conducting a drive against illegal encroachers on forest land. “The death did not happen at the place where carcass was found, it was dumped there,” said V P Singh, who was a part of three-member committee set up by forest department to look into the cause of death.

When the carcass was opened for post-mortem, we found all internal organs in a decomposed state, said Singh. The temperature being so low in the night, decomposition could not have set in within hours of death, he added. The vets who conducted the post-mortem were of the opinion that death could have happened at least 48 hours before the carcass was recovered.

“Had the carcass been lying there for all these hours, it would have been eaten up by scavengers,” added Singh. None of the organs were missing and the body was intact. Externally, there were only two injury marks, a broken upper (right) canine and a 15 cm long incision on the base of the tail.

The post-mortem report from Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly is still awaited. “We are at the site and will be in a position to comment once the report comes,” said C P Goel, chief conservator of forest, Lucknow.

The day carcass was recovered, forest officials had extended three possible causes of death — poisoning as tiger had bled from its mouth, electrocution as some high voltage wires are running at the place and few electric equipment too were found lying at the spot and strangulation.

Now, these possibilities are being ruled out completely. The latest version goes that electric equipment were put at the place deliberately to feign death due to electrocution. However, the carcass did not show symptoms of electrocution or poisoning. Nowhere in the body had blood coagulated nor were traces of poison found in its viscera samples.

North Kheri is fighting ever-increasing human interference. Spread over 3,750 sq km it forms buffer area of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR). In June, last year forest officials had lodged FIR against 150 encroachers there. The resentment among locals had set in then only.

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