BHOPAL: Four days after a tigress was found dead in Katni district, the carcass of a tiger was found in Madhya Pradesh’s Shahdol district on Saturday, taking the toll to six this year.
As the Bandhavgarh National Park is just a few kilometers away, the probe team believes that the tiger could be from there. The tiger death in Shahdol district, around 550 km from Bhopal, is the 61st since January 2016.
Madhya Pradesh, which as per the 2014 all India tiger census had 308 striped cats(the third highest tiger count after Karnataka and Uttarakhand), has the dubious distinction of reporting the most tiger deaths in 2016 and 2017. In 2016, the state lost 30 tigers followed by 25 tigers in 2017. The pan India tiger count, which is held after every four years, is due this year.
The tiger, aged between four and five year, was found dead by a farmer at his field in Devra village on Rewa Road in Jaisinghnagar block of Shahdol district in the morning.
Officials from the Bandhavgarh National Park-Tiger Reserve, which is located a few km away from the site, along with forest department officials have already initiated preliminary investigations.
Sniffer dogs of the forest department’s special task force (STF) were deployed on the spot to trace any clue about the tiger’s death.
A senior forest department official present at the spot told The New Indian Express that the actual cause of death would be known only after an autopsy which will be done on Sunday. Preliminary investigation pointed towards the possibility of death due to electrocution by a trap/fence put up by local farmers to keep stray animals away from destroying crops.
Sources privy to the investigation revealed that five to six men were being questioned by the forest department, particularly as galvanised iron wire, which is used for fencing purposes, was recovered from them.
“We are close to solving the case, but the affirmative seal on the investigation will be confirmed only after the autopsy report,” said a forest department official.