Thursday, June 21, 2007

Leopard death raises safety concerns for Indian reserve's animals

Wednesday 20th of June 2007

The death of a panther in the Sariska tiger reserve has again raised concerns over the safety of wild animals in the sanctuary that has already lost all of its tigers due to poaching.

A panther was found dead June 16 in Bhairunghati area of the reserve. While the forest department claims the animal died fighting other wild cats, doctors say gunshots killed the panther.

The veterinarians who conducted the post mortem have refused to speak about it. But informed sources told IANS that the experts saw gunshot marks on the carcass and a hole in the panther's liver.

The report comes at a time when the Rajasthan government is working on a plan to rehabilitate tigers in Sariska after facing criticism for the disappearance of tigers from the reserve.

A 2004 wildlife census shows there are over 550 panthers in Rajasthan. Sawai Madhopur district, which houses the Ranthambore National Park, has the maximum number at 83.

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