An ailing tigress carrying a nylon wire noose around her neck for more than a year died during a rescue operation near Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in Yavatmal district on Sunday. T4, aged around 4.5 years, had not been seen for the past ten months in the area – on the fringes of Tipeshwar.
“On Sunday, two forest staffers had gone to fix cameras at a spot for monitoring of two recently radio-collared Tipeshwar tigers. Soon, they noticed T4 at just about 10 feet distance. They climbed up a tree and watched her. They noticed that she had become very weak and could hardly move,” said Tipeshwar divisional Forest Officer Pramod Panchbai.
Panchbai further said upon getting the news, he left for Nagpur with a veterinarian. “I directed them to call a rescue van from Pandharkawada to try and rescue her. I also started from Nagpur along with veterinarian Chetan Patond. After the rescue van reached the spot, our staff felt she could probably be caught in a net. But even in her bad condition, she attacked one of the staffers, a guide called Guddu, who received injuries on his wrist,” he said.
“One forest employee decided to tranquilise her thinking she might die if not rescued immediately. So, a local Livestock Development officer Uday Nakade prepared a dart, which was fired by Suresh Mahakulkar. Soon after, we reached the spot. But the tigress had died by that time,” Panchbai said.
He said the tigress was extremely weak and weighed barely 100 kg. “The tigress had a nylon rope virtually strangling her neck. It had caused a big injury and there were maggots all over the neck. A post-mortem has revealed she died of cardio-respiratory failure, septicemia and anaemia. She had virtually no blood left in her body,” Panchbai said.
“We have videographed the post-mortem, which proved that her organs were in very bad shape,” he said. Asked if the manner in which the operation was carried out left a lot to be desired, he said, “Our staff took steps out of concern for the tigress. She would otherwise have died too. Sometimes, decisions on the ground are at variance with the standard protocol but that’s due to typical exigencies of the situation.”
Last year, the shooting of Pandharkawada tigress T1 had created a lot of controversy over alleged violation of standard operating protocol. Incidentally, Tipeshwar is located close by.