A TIGER, which was found stuck in the river bed of Shirna at Chandrapur district’s Bhadrawadi tahsil on Wednesday, has drowned, officials said on Thursday.
Rama Rao, Chandrapur Chief Conservator of Forest, said: “We had tried many things to coax him out of water but he had preferred not to come out. When we were planning to restart the rescue operation at 5.30 am on Thursday, we found him dead…”
“Postmortem of the tiger revealed that it died of drowning, caused by severe weakness, which was a result of extensive internal and external bleeding.”
Commuters reportedly found the tiger stuck between rocks on the river bed at Majri area of Western Coalfields Limited mines. It had reportedly jumped off a bridge on river Shirna on Tuesday night, after two cars approached it from either side.
Plagued by a back injury, the tiger, however, on Wednesday managed to slowly move from the spot where it had got stuck. Later in the day, the forest officials had lowered a cage near the tiger. As it tried to latch on to it, the tiger caught the cage in his jaw and damaged its canine, resulting in bleeding. It had then refused to get inside the cage. The officials also burst crackers to force it out of the water, but to no avail.
The tiger could not be tranquilised as it was in the water. The medicine takes about 10 minutes to take effect on a tiger, and in the meantime, if it tries to run away, it could drown due to sedation.
The animal had made Bhadrawati its home despite there being no forest around, and was surviving on its cattle kills. Bhadrawati Range Forest Officer Swati Maheshkar said, “The tiger was about four years old and was born to a resident tiger from Bhadrawati range. The area is full of prosopis jungle, with a lot of wild pigs and blue bulls around. A good cattle population can be found in the adjoining villages, on which the tigers here survive. With this death, the range now has three resident tigers left.”
A wildlife activist said: “The whole of Wednesday was wasted in preparing a road to reach the spot where the tiger was stuck. And later, they tried to cage it when it was not possible. In the process, the tiger started bleeding from its mouth. The additional injury only worsened its chances of recovery.”