The tiger and the crocodile have respective supremacy as the predators of the islands and the waters of the Sunderbans, but in a contest that the two recently engaged in on the marshes, which get submerged during the high tide, the crocodile has won. A patrolling party of the Sunderban Tiger Reserve (STR) found the carcass of an eight-year-old tiger on Dobaki Island on Tuesday morning.
Initial suspicions that the killing may have been the handiwork of poachers were belied by the fact that the usual organs that poachers take away – genitalia, teeth, etc. were found intact. A post-mortem examination revealed that the tiger was killed by a crocodile, Subrat Mukherjee, field director of STR, told The Hindu over telephone.
“A hind-leg and femur of the other hind-leg were ripped out of the tiger`s body. Twenty-five marks of piercing by crocodile teeth were also found on the body,” Mr. Mukherjee said, adding that a team of three veterinary surgeons conducted the post mortem.
The crocodile may have got hold of the tiger`s leg and jerked it repeatedly, eventually killing the animal, he said.
It is likely that the crocodile went back into the water to devour the hind legs of the tiger after which the tide may have receded. Crocodiles always attack the legs of their prey first.