Seven tigers have been reported dead in Uttarakhand this year,three of them in the renowned Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) and its adjoining areas just in the last one week.
Highly placed sources said the three CTR animals may have been poisoned or become victims of revenge killing as preliminary investigations indicated the deaths were not due to natural causes and poaching also does not appear to be the motive as the bodies are intact.
While the mutilated body of one tiger was found inside CTR on June 1,the carcasses of two tigers were recovered from the area under the Tarai West Forest Division on May 27 and May 29.
Forest officials are yet to get the complete post-mortem reports to ascertain the reason behind the three deaths. They cant be cases of natural deaths, CTR director Samir Sinha told The Indian Express without elaborating.
Sources said that there was an increase in the number of tigers in CTR and they might have attacked children or cattle in the nearby areas leading to the villagers poisoning them.
State forest department officials said the state government had asked CTR officials to send samples of the carcasses to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute,Bareilly,and the Drug Research Institute,Lucknow,to conclusively establish the cause of death.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority had earlier this year framed a set of standard operating procedures on man-tiger conflicts,specifying that a tiger that may have strayed into human habitation must be guided back,and if necessary,immobilised and radio-collared.
The SOPs especially warn against panic and law and order problems in these areas and call on the district administration to ensure that affected people do not attempt to poison the animal.