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Officials clueless over reason behind death of tigers in Bandipur

After two tigers died in Nagarhole-Bandipur due to territorial fights, the death of two other big cats and an elephant in Bandipur has been causing serious concern as they are suspected to have been p

Published: 07th February 2018 01:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th February 2018 06:01 AM   |  A+A-

The decomposed remains of the two tigers which were found in Bandipur

Express News Service

BENGALURU: After two tigers died in Nagarhole-Bandipur due to territorial fights, the death of two other big cats and an elephant in Bandipur has been causing serious concern as they are suspected to have been poisoned by local people. Investigations are on, but, forest officials have found no clues even after two weeks of the tiger deaths.

Presently, the state forest department is planning to restore the ‘grassland landscape’ in these two protected areas as an intensive protection measure in the high tiger density region.
On January 24, in Bandipur, two juvenile tigers were found poisoned in GS Betta range while on February 5, another tiger was found dead with severe injuries in Maddur Range. On January 31, the body of a decomposed tiger was found (with its neck region having canine marks) in Nagarhole Range.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) (Wildlife), Punati Sridhar told The New Indian Express, “We are really worried about the poisoning case and haven’t found any clues about the people involved in this crime. Forensic and DNA reports are yet to come in. In the other two cases, deaths have happened due to infighting. This is expected as Bandipur-Nagarhole region has a high density of tiger population. More than 10 per cent will face mortality either due to territorial fights for space or disease and aging.”

GRASSLAND DEVELOPMENT

Restoring the grassland landscape of this region is on the cards now. Officials added, “We are looking at removal of Lantana from this landscape and in this regard, we will be holding a workshop on January 16 to discuss this measure. However, the issue of removal of Lantana will be discussed thoroughly. We hope to restore the original grassland landscape without cutting any trees and maybe, launch this project next year. This year, it cannot be done as the fire season has begun.”

Lantana camara has been listed by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as the world’s worst weed that has invaded many countries. In Bandipur, Nagarhole and BRT tiger reserves, this invasive species has destroyed the wildlife habitat, thereby depleting the fodder availability for wild ungulates in this landscape. This has led to wild animals straying into human settlements and resulting in man-animal conflict.

The development of grasslands in Bandipur-Nagarhole will be a 10-year plan and for this, the forest department will be needing funds. The PCCF added, “We hope to start this project in 100 hectares. We expect private funding and some firms have come forward to support us.”

Tiger found dead in Nagarhole Reserve
Another tiger death was reported in Nagarhole on Tuesday. Forest officials said it may have died due to natural causes. The eight-year-old female tiger was found dead in Anechowkur in Nagarhole tiger reserve. The postmortem will be done tomorrow which will reveal the exact cause of death, said PCCF (Wildlife).



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