Three tiger deaths in three days have been reported in Maharashtra. While one tiger was found dead in an irrigation canal of Bor dharan (dam) on March 21, two tigers were found dead on Tuesday, one in Pandharkawda tahsil of Yavatmal district and another in Nagalwadi range of Pench Tiger Reserve in Nagpur district.
None of the three cases has yet been proved to be that of poaching.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Nitin Kakodkar said, “The Bor Dharan case doesn’t seem to be of poaching as body parts of the tigress were intact. The tigress was found in the canal water and may have possibly drowned due to exhaustion. But it is also possible that the body might have been thrown in water after being found dead somewhere else. No electrocution marks, however, have been found.”
On Tuesday, an extremely decomposed carcass of a tiger, with its all four paws missing, was found in the Nagalwadi area of Nagpur district. “The carcass is about a week old and in a highly decomposed state. The gender will be ascertained after due examination of pelvic bone on Wednesday. But the teeth of the tiger seem to be highly worn out, indicating that it was an old tiger and may have died of old age. Sometimes, miscreants do run away with paws when they find a dead tiger. We will try to trace them on Wednesday using the dog squad,” Kakodkar said.
In Pandharkawda territorial forest, a tigress aged about 5-6 years was found dead in a nullah in Maregaon range on Tuesday afternoon. “She was found with a wire snare around her neck. We suspect the snare might have been laid for some other animal… and the tigress may have been trapped in it. All body parts of the tigress, however, are intact,” said Assistant Conservator of Forest Subhash Dhumare.
With these three deaths, the tiger mortality count this year so far has gone up to 14, including two cubs which were killed by tiger Surya in Umred-Paoni-Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary.
Kakodkar has issued instructions to authorities to step up protections in view of the upcoming Holi celebrations, during which a lot of herbivore poaching is done for bush meat by deploying wire snares.
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