Dead tiger may be victim of revenge killing
CHANDRAPUR, Monday 29th August 2011


Even as the death of a tiger in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserves appears to be a natural death, forest officers are probing the angle of revenge killing. Tiger bones were recovered from Moharli range of the tiger reserve on Thursday on the basis of a tip-off given by Wildlife Protection Society of Indian (WPSI).

Assistant conservator of forests Ajay Pillariseth said that 84 bones were recovered, scattered in 32 clusters, in the circumference of 117 meters in compartment no. 249 in Moharli range. The place is 5km from Karva village. The nearest road is 1.5km away.

The recovered material includes three nails, skull and lower jaw apart from the various bones in the body. "There was no meat left with the bones and the scavengers had scattered them all around. The scene suggests that the tiger might have died 8 to 12 months back. The entire meat and skin of tiger got decomposed and later could have washed away in the rains," Pillariseth said.

He ruled out the angle of poaching stating that had it been poaching for tiger's body part, then they would have not recovered any nail or teeth. "We have found three nails, entire lower jaw and skull along with other bones. If professional poachers had killed the tiger, they would have buried the bones, hence there is little chance of poaching. However, we have not ruled out the possibility of revenge killing," he said.

The place where the bones have been found falls between Karva and Palasgaon villages. Hence, forest officials are probing the possibility of villagers killing the tiger to avenge cattle killings. "Karva is closest to the place where the bones were found. As the village falls in territorial forest, we have sought details of cattle kills in the village from Chandrapur forest division, to evaluate the possibility of revenge killing," he added. Pillariseth, however, maintained that as the tiger reserve is prohibited for grazing, there is low possibility of tiger falling prey to revenge killing inside the reserve.

He said that their prima facie investigations suggest that it was a full grown male tiger. "The large size of skull and sturdy bones indicate that it could be a full grown male tiger. Moreover, there was recorded presence of male tiger in the area," he added. He claimed that they are forwarding a tooth of the tiger for forensic tests seeking confirmation of sex, species, age of the tiger, span since death and DNA profile of the animal from the lab.

When inquired about failure of staffers to report the missing tiger from the particular territory, he explained that the territory is still occupied by a full grown tiger particular area and its presence misled the guard manning the area. "It is likely that soon after the death of tiger, some other male tiger occupied its territory and the staffers mostly monitoring the signs of presence never got a clue that a tiger had died and other tiger had moved in. A tigress with three sub-adult cubs, a male and two female, had its presence in the same area and the chances of its male cub taking up the empty territory after attending adulthood could not be ruled out," he said.