Tests reveal tiger died after eating poisoned meat

Probe ordered into first such death at Nagarahole reserve

Tests reveal tiger died after eating poisoned meat

An investigation has been ordered into the recent death of a tiger at Nagarahole Tiger Reserve as it has been established that the big cat had died after consuming poisoned food.

Forensic examinations have established that the male tiger had consumed poisoned goat meat. On January 14, the five-year-old tiger was found dead in the Kakanakote section, Mastigudi beat in the DB  Kuppe range of the Nagarahole National Park. According to forest officials, it is the first such death to be reported from the tiger reserve.
Initially, it was assumed that the tiger might have died of natural cause.

But, the postmortem conducted by veterinarian Dr Umashankar of Nagarahole tiger reserve and examination of visceral samples at Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals (IAHVBB), Bangalore, have now established that the tiger died after eating poisoned goat meat. “We have found traces of Zinc Phospate in the visceral samples,” Dr Ventages, Director, IAHVB told Deccan Herald.

He said that such poisons are used to ward off rodents. Confirming the results, a senior forest officer said that when the carcass was found, the tiger’s stomach was bloated and it was assumed that it might have consumed a sambar.

Deputy Conservator of Forest R Gokul said a compliant has been lodged with H D Kote magistrate under the Wildlife Protection Act and, an investigation has been ordered. He said Mahadev,  assistant conservator of forest, Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) will be heading investigations.

The place where the carcass was found is in the Kabini  backwaters with no villages around. The official said that probably it might be an act of retaliation by the villagers, whose cattle the tiger might have fed on.

 “It is one of the possibilities because there are no chances of the tiger straying out and, also there are no villages in a radius of two kms from the place where the carcass was found,” he said.

The well-grown grass in the Kabini region attracts a plenty of cattle and the tiger might have preyed upon one of those cattle. The skin, nails and teeth of the tiger are intact and there is no injury or any other marks suggesting a territorial fight, the official said.

As DB Kuppe borders Kerala, there might be a possibility of poachers from that State poisoning the tiger. However, Gokul said that it is still not clear how the animal had consumed the poisoned meat. But, this is the first such instance in Nagarahole, he added.

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