COIMBATORE: A day after tiger MDT23 was tranquillised in Masinagudi on Friday, allegations surfaced that its haemoglobin levels are falling because it received two tranquilising darts in just an hour.
A veterinarian sitting on a kumki elephant fired a dart at the tiger at 1.05 pm on Friday, after which it fled into the bushes, sources from the team that tranquilised the big cat said. Then, at 2 pm, another veterinarian spotted the tiger and fired another dose of sedative, they added, explaining that the animal roared and the veterinarian feared it would pounce on him.
MDT23 has allegedly killed four humans and over a dozen cattle at the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and the Gudalur forest division. Experts say the two doses of tranquiliser administered within an hour could have caused its health to deteriorate.
“The animal would have been under stress after the first dose. The veterinarian should have waited to see how it responded instead of shooting a second dose. The animal is aged and hadn’t eaten properly. Moreover, the ketamine-xylazine combination of the dose is extremely powerful. There have been instances when big cats died after receiving two doses in a short period,” an expert said.
‘Tiger given only one dose as per SOP’
“Veterinarians shouldn’t administer a second dose even as a precautionary measure. The second dose could be a reason for the animal’s deteriorating health. It is still in a semi-conscious state at the rescue centre,” the expert added.
Meanwhile, Chief Wildlife Warden Shekhar Kumar Niraj told TNIE the tiger was given only one dose, which was 20 mg of ketamine-xylazine, in line with the standard operating procedure laid out by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NT CA).
“The tiger was brought to the centre in Mysuru at 4.30 am on Saturday, and was no longer sedated. It was charging at the cage. It is in good health, but its haemoglobin level is falling. It has several injury marks. Some of the body cuts may lead to septicemia (blood stream infection),” he said.