Prince who charmed wildlife lovers dead

Prince who charmed wildlife lovers dead

 Prince, world-famous mascot of the Bandipur reserve, is dead. The carcass of the 11-year-old tiger was found by a patrol inside the Bandipur Tiger Reserve on April 2.

In his heyday, he was photographed extensively, with wildlife buffs praising his majestic elegance.

True to his name, he lived like a prince, but in the end, he died with no help, wildlife lovers are lamenting.

Prince was the second most popular wild tiger in India, after Machli from Ranthambore. Obituaries began pouring in for him on social media on Tuesday. Officials stumbled on the rotting carcass during a patrol in the Lokkere area in the Kundakere range. A post mortem suggests Prince died of starvation a month ago. Maggots were found around his jaw, officials said.

In the records of the forest department and National tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Prince was T222.

The camera trap of Wildlife Conservation Society also identified the carcass as Prince. A camera trap is a remotely controlled camera activated by motion sensors. The society had first captured him on camera in 2009.

He was later camera-trapped 29 times by researchers, and an equal number of times by the forest department. About a year ago, he had fallen ill and almost died. Two guards were then deployed to keep an eye on him. Efforts were made to feed and revive him.

“He helped the Bandipur Tiger Reserve get international acclaim. The department earned about Rs 25 crore over five years from those who just wanted to photograph him. He had become the brand mascot of the reserve,” a former forest department veterinarian said.
Prince had not been sighted in his usual habitat for more than two months.

“Staffers did not bother to search for him. That is the reason his carcass was found a full month after his death,” he said.

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