Vets not ready to jump the gun on man-eater theory

Tiger injures teeth in Mysore zoo; scat samples to be sent to Hyderabad lab

Vets not ready to jump the gun on man-eater theory

Even though the Forest department has claimed that the captured tiger is the man-eater which mauled three humans to death recently, veterinarians treating the feline at the Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, Mysore, are not committing to this theory.

The tiger’s identity will be established only after its scat samples are analysed by the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad. Till then, the tiger, who is being called Shiva by the zoo staff, will be catered to at the hospital in the zoo premises, before being sent to the Bannerghatta Biological Park in Bangalore.

Shiva is yet to get used to his new surroundings. He struggled violently within the confines of his cage all through Thursday night, so much so that he has injured his canine teeth, the slivers of which were found on Friday morning.

It was also discovered that he has dented the grills of the cage, in his attempt to bite through it. The cement water block, was also targeted by Shiva. However, he had calmed down by Friday morning.

Having vomited on Thursday night, a weak and groggy Shiva wolfed down four kg of cow’s meat on Friday afternoon. Enthused, the doctors treating him fed him another four kg of meat in the night.

On his arrival, doctors had collected scat and urine samples. More scat samples will be collected for the next two to three days, before they are sent to CCMB.

“Preliminary examination has not indicated any signs of human DNA in the scat. We expected to see human hair in the scat. But no such evidence has emerged. Scat samples will be collected for the next couple of days and sent for analyses. Only after that, we will be able to say for sure if the tiger is a man-eater,” said one of the Zoo vets.

B P Ravi, executive director, Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, said that as per the assessment of the zoo vets, the tiger is aged eight to nine years, was starved for food for a few days and was moving around on the fringe areas of Hediyala range in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. “According to vets, the animal appears to be dull and weak, and is suffering from pain due to piercing of the quills of a porcupine, besides minor injuries on several parts of the body.

 The tiger’s lower canine teeth are broken and swelling could be noticed. Another quill is pierced near the chest region, which appears to be a serious injury. The prognosis is guarded. The animal drank water on Thursday and nearly ate four kg of fresh beef on Friday. The animal will be examined in detail to assess injuries and treatment will be initiated accordingly,” he added.

The tiger is being treated by zoo vet Dr Suresh Kumar, Dr Prashanth from Bannerghatta National Park and Dr Kshama from Shimoga. Following the examination, the quills will be removed.

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