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Panna tigress dies in a collar

Wounded in the neck, device may have prevented T4 from soothing the wound.

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Bhopal |
September 20, 2014 1:45:48 am
The tigress was found dead on Friday. The tigress was found dead on Friday.

Panna Tiger Reserve’s turnaround was made possible in part by collaring of the big cats but the very contraption may have contributed to the death of a tigress in the reserve, in possibly the first such case.

T4, the hand-reared tigress translocated from Kanha to Panna, was found dead in Madla range of PTR on Friday. Shifted in March 2011, the tigress had littered thrice which in itself was a remarkable achievement in conversation history.

PCCF (Wildlife) Narendra Kumar told The Indian Express that T4 had a wound on the neck, probably sustained while hunting, but the collar may have made it difficult for the tigress to lick it, as animals normally do to get better. He said the collar itself may not have caused the death but it aggravated the wound.

Another big cat from Panna which dispersed to Sanjay tiger reserve also had a wound on the neck and would have met a similar fate had the collar not stopped functioning. The wound was noticed when the tiger was tranquilized to replace the collar. The park authorities sutured the wound and did not collar it again.

The monitoring party of PTR received mortality signal from T4’s radio collar around 6.45 pm on Thursday and the carcass was found by the search party on Friday. The post-mortem was conducted in the presence of NTCA representative Rajiv Dixit.

Park Director R S Murthy, however, claimed that the cause of death appears to be natural. He said viscera had been sent to two laboratories and only after a detailed analysis the exact cause of death would be known. He said the tigress’ stomach was empty and it had probably not eaten anything in the last 10 days. Murthy said even he suspected initially that the collar could have contributed to the death but it was not the case.

Kumar described the death as a one-off case and added that collaring was necessary to monitor the dispersing males and there was no question of reviewing the practice. In response to some experts’ observation that collars hinder mating, Kumar said the big cats have bred despite it.

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