The carcass of a five-year-old tiger was found at a coffee plantation in Varattuparai estate under Valparai forest division in Anamalai tiger reserve (ATR) on Monday afternoon.
Estate security personnel spotted the carcass and informed the forest officials around 2.30 pm. On information, field director of ATR, Rajiv K Srivastava, district forest officer, Velusamy, and Valparai forest ranger, Krishnasamy, reached the spot.
Though, the exact cause of death was not established, photos of the carcass, released by the forest department, showed meat in the mouth of the animal. Preliminary investigations suggested that the tiger could have died due to internal injuries sustained while eating a porcupine. Officials said quills of porcupine were found in the vicinity.
However, the officials said the reason behind the death would be ascertained once the autopsy was conducted. The post mortem was delayed due to the absence of a permanent veterinary doctor in ATR. As the forest veterinary doctor N S Manokaran was in Coimbatore and it would have taken around three hours for him to reach Valparai, the autopsy was postponed to Tuesday morning, the source added.
Watchers and guards had camped at the place for the night to thwart any bid to poach the animal. Sources said the carcass would be burnt after the autopsy, which would be performed in front of members of Nature conservation foundation (NCF).