Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Indian officials rescue tiger wounded by poachers

Bhubaneshwar, Apr 2 : Orissa wildlife officials rescued a wounded tigress on Monday, believed to have been shot by poachers in a reserve forest.

The seven-year-old tigress, found limping inside the Satkosia Tiger Reserve, has been transferred to the Nandankanan zoo in Bhubaneshwar for medical care.

She had sustained six pellet injuries, of which four were lodged in her right hind leg, one in her left hind and another in her neck, officials said.

"Actually, it was shot by some poachers and we found that some pellet injury is there at the hind portion of the animal. Now specialists have come from the Orissa Veterinary College and so now the animal will be x'rayed, then we can exactly know what is the extent of injury and whether there is any fracture of bone or there is any problem with the nervous system," said Ajit Patnaik, Director, Nandankanan Zoo.

Patnaik ruled out the involvement of professional poachers as evidence points to accidental firing by culprits.

"It doesn't look like a professional poacher's job because tigers are never killed with these kind of ammunitions because these are all pellets normally used for small animals and birds. So it seems that they may have fired accidentally or maybe a novice kind of man that is what I'm suspecting," said Patnaik.

Poachers kill tigers for their bones, skin, teeth and nails which fetch a handsome sum in the illegal market.

Wildlife experts say an estimated 1,500 tigers have been poached in India in the past decade.

According to official estimates in 2006, there are now barely 3,600 tigers in India, and some wildlife experts say the true figure could be less than 2,000.

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