Kheri tiger's postmortem report inconclusive
TNN, 15 January 2010, 04:45am IST
LUCKNOW: The postmortem report of the tiger found dead in North Kheri forest on January 6 morning has failed to establish the cause of death. The report from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) Bareilly, which conducted the postmortem, states that the cause of death could not be known, sources said.
"The age of the dead tiger (about 12 years) has though been deduced," said sources. The decomposed organs, however, could not indicate much. Meanwhile, the investigation by officials and members appointed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is underway. "Foul play is what we are still suspecting," said sources.
An adult male tiger was found dead near Paraspur forest outpost in Sampoornanand range of North Kheri. Foresters had arrested a man from the spot and searched his mobile records.
Initially, it was thought the tiger died of electrocution or poisoning or strangulation. The postmortem report, however, has not indicated any such thing. Hence, these factors stand ruled out. Second, on the basis of the fact that internal organs had decomposed, the death was projected to have happened at least 48 hours before the carcass was recovered.
Since the carcass was found about 200 metres away from the forest outpost, foresters shared that it could not have laid there unnoticed for all these hours. The jackals and scavengers could have eaten it but even this did not happen. None of the organs was missing and the body was intact. Externally, there were only two injury marks -- a broken upper (right) canine and a 15 cm long incision on the base of the tail.
"We are still investigating into how the carcass reached there," added sources. The members of the committee appointed to investigate into the cause of death say the big cat could have died a natural death and its carcass "planted near forest outpost under malafide intentions" of the locals.
This is not the first of its kind case in North Kheri. At least two leopard and a tiger carcasses were found there in the past too where the cause of death could not be established. In Dhaurahra range, a man-mauling leopard was burnt by the villagers in May 2008 after being on prowl for more than three months. In another case, in November 2008, a decomposed carcass of a tiger was seen floating in Sutia `nullah' along the Paraspur forest under Sampoornanad range.
North Kheri is fighting ever-increasing human interference. Spread over 3,750 sq km it forms a buffer area of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve. As per official information, about 7,900 hectare area has been encroached. In the operations so far, some 600 hectare has been recovered but "it has not been an easy going", said sources. Further, limited infrastructure has made it difficult to ensure safety of tigers.