MADIKERI : An eight-year-old male tiger was found dead at a coffee estate in Nittur near Gonikoppa about 90 km from here on Wednesday.
Mystery shrouds the death of the male tiger as it had no wounds on its body. According to wildlife experts, the tiger did not die due to starvation.
Deputy Conservator of Forests, Virajpet, Shankar said, “The tiger was found dead at a coffee estate far away from the Nagarhole National Park. We do not have any conclusive evidence to state that the tiger died an unnatural death because of the absence of any kind of wounds on its body. We don’t know whether the animal had any internal injury. This will be known only after we receive the autopsy report.”
Wildlife wing veterinarian Dr Umashankar conducted the autopsy, and the laboratory test reports are yet to reach the Forest Department.
Meanwhile, local villagers around Gonikoppa had reported the sighting of a tiger and mysterious disappearance of cattle to officials earlier. This has led to several theories explaining the death of the tiger. One of them is that the starved tiger could have entered the fringe areas of the National Park and attacked cattle. This incident could have enraged villagers, who might have poisoned the tiger.
Another theory suggests that due to the destruction of grasslands, herbivorour animals must have migrated from the forest to the villages and the tiger must have just followed them.
Yet another theory says the tiger could have died in a fight with another male over domination in a particular part of the forest. The forest officials who examined the carcass said they cannot rule out such an angle. They have however, ruled out any poaching attempt as there was no bullet wound on the body. This is the first time that a tiger has been found dead in the area.
Tiger expert Praveen Bhargava said, “I do not know what happened in this case but death due to poisoning of animals is a prevalent practice in the country.”
“Usually when a tiger makes a kill, be it domesticated or wildlife, it eats half and leaves the carcass. It returns after a day or two for the carcass and eats the rest of it. This is when the poisoning takes place, a simple pesticide could have killed the tiger,” he said.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority has laid down elaborate guidelines in respect of practices to be followed in event of the death of a tiger.
“As the postmortem will be conducted on Thursday, we hope the forest department carries out the measures stated in the protocol,” Bhargava said.