CHENNAI: The preliminary medical assessment of the Masinagudi tiger, officially known as MDT-23, showed deep maggot-infested wounds in his lower abdomen, multiple cuts in his thorax area, a swollen left forelimb, and low hemoglobin levels. The big cat, however, is said to be stable.
“He is anaemic and weak. We need at least 4-7 days to make a complete assessment. There is an old injury in the lower abdomen between the thighs. There are holes in the thorax area, but we don’t know how deep they are,” said V Madan Kompal, wildlife veterinarian, Koorgalli Wild Animals Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre attached to Mysuru Zoo.
Madan said the big cat was allotted a secure enclosure, away from any contact. The animal would be observed only through CCTV cameras and no keeper would go near him. “We will decide on a prognosis (course of medical condition) after complete health profiling. Primary medication like antibiotics and IV fluids were given. Liver and kidney tests will be conducted to assess whether the infection has affected any vital organs,” said Madan.
Chief Wildlife Warden Shekhar Kumar Niraj, who was in Mysuru on Saturday, told TNIE, “The area where the tiger is being kept has near-wild conditions with zero disturbance.” Capture of MDT-23 not a permanent solution although there is a sense of relief in Masinagudi with the capture of MDT-23, it is not a permanent solution to mitigate human-animal conflict in the region. In fact, the forest department does not have enough data to suggest the four human deaths were caused by MDT-23.
Sources said the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve did not collect DNA samples of the deceased to match with the DNA of the captured tiger. During the course of capture operations, footage from camera traps showed the presence of at least 3-4 other tigers in the buffer area of the tiger reserve.
“We only hope the conflict does not flare up again. The permanent solution to the problem would be to build cattle pens inside the villages and provide fodder at subsided prices thereby completely eliminating the need for cattle grazers to venture into the forest,” said N Sadiq Ali, founder of Nilgiris -based Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust.
DNA samples of victims were not collected
Sources said the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve did not collect DNA samples of the deceased persons to match with the DNA of the captured tiger. During the course of its capture, footage from camera traps showed the presence of at least 3-4 other tigers in the buffer area of the tiger reserve