BENGALURU: The state forest authorities will carry out a forensic analysis of the radio collar on the Belagavi tiger as it had malfunctioned after the animal was released into the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary.
The postmortem report of the man-eater had revealed that the tiger had died from bullet injuries. However, no ballistic test was done as the bullets had exited the body.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Vinay Luthra told Express, “I am completely satisfied with the final report submitted on the operations carried out at Belagavi on the recapture and killing of the tiger. Once again, I say the bullets were fired by our own staff,” he said.
Meanwhile, wildlife conservationists say the authorities’ approach on the crisis had been amateurish and hadn’t taken into account the “aberrant” behavioural aspects of the tiger. An expert said, “The incident exposed the sheer inexperience of the authorities, who missed out many a parameter, and their complete lack of understanding of the tiger ecology. The question of the malfunctioning radio collar could have been solved if they had tested the device in advance.”
Luthra said in the recent past, many such animals have been tranquillised, captured, tranquillised again, radio collared and then released into the wild.
“A health check up was done before it (the Belagavi tiger) was collared by wildlife expert Sanjay Gubbi. He was the expert working in the field and he should have tested the radio collar before its installation. As everyone is aware, the collar did not work and we could not track the animal. We did not carry out any behavioural assessment and only biometric data was collected. If this tiger had been unhealthy, we would definitely have collected health data too,” he said.
‘We Killed the Tiger’
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Vinay Luthra reiterated that the tiger had been killed by the Forest Department, and added that till date, the civilian Tanaji Patil, who had claimed before the media that he had killed the tiger, has not done so in front of the authorities.
“So there is no question of either taking action against him or registering a case. This is all just media speculation. If he has a licensed firearm in the vicinity of a national park or a sanctuary, the Forest Department has to be notified, but this has not come to my notice,” Luthra said.