Poisoning could be reason behind tiger's death, says Ramesh

“Both the Central and State governments have failed in saving the animal. Yet it appears to be a mystery. No bullet wound (was found)... I think there is a very preponderant possibility of poisoning,” Ramesh said as he visited the sanctuary amidst controversy over the government’s tiger revival plan.

The minister said he had arrived at the conclusion after talking to villagers and experts at the site. “It (poisoning) clearly seems to be the gut feeling of most people,” he said.
The death of the male tiger, which happened to be the first one to be relocated in Sariska in 2008, seems to have been shrouded in mystery with the state forest officials claiming that the post-mortem report has not detected any unnatural substance.

However, they said the decomposed body was detected almost 72 hours after the death and some of the vital organs like tongue were missing.

Taking responsibility for the “shocking” and “disturbing” incident which has cast doubts over the tiger translocation programme functioning, he said: “I placed my faith in a lot of young officers who were posted here but they clearly did not fulfill their responsibility.”
Experts from Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) under whose supervision the translocation was undertaken two years ago also came under direct attack from the minister who said that even when there were no radio signals about the whereabouts of the tiger for the last two weeks they slept over it.

“I placed my faith in the WII which is under my ministry. They have also not come up to expectation either,” he said indicating that more head might roll in the wake of the death of tiger.

“For two weeks there was no radio signal (from the radio-collars of the tiger). They (officials) should have alerted us. If radio signals were weak, we should have had GPS (global positioning systems) but not radio monitoring,” Ramesh noted.

Brushing aside the criticism of the tiger translocation process, Ramesh said: “The show must go on. We must continue with the programme. I hope we will not have recurrence of such incident.”

Sariska incident a rude shock

The death of a translocated tiger in Sariska has come as a rude shock for conservationists readying to meet at the maiden global tiger summit in Russia next week to find ways to ensure that population of the endangered animal doubles from existing 3,200 over the next decade, PTI reports from New Delhi.

The meet to be attended by 13 tiger range countries, including India, aims at “empowering them to address the entire spectrum of threats, domestic as well as trans-boundary, and working towards increased sustainability through the integration of conservation objectives into development.”

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