Anindo Dey, TNN, Dec 4, 2010, 04.59am IST
JAIPUR: It's official: the first tiger ST-1 relocated to Sariska from the Ranthambore reserve was poisoned to death. Forensic test reports have confirmed the presence of poison in body parts of the big cat. "The forensic tests have confirmed presence of an insecticide," said H M Bhatia, chief wildlife warden, Rajasthan.
The body of ST-1 was found near a cattle track in the Kalakhet area of the forest, just yards away from a village on November 14.
Sources said the poison used to kill the big cat was organophosphate, an insecticide used in agriculture, homes, gardens and by veterinary doctors. "It is the most widely used insecticide. Organophosphate poisons insects and mammals by phosphorylation of enzymes at nerve endings resulting in sensory and behavioural disturbance, depressed motor functioning and respiratory disorders leading to death," the source said.
Though evidence at the place where ST-1's body was found had clearly suggested poisoning by humans, forest department officials remained doubtful. For, post-mortem reports had ruled out territorial war as the reason for the death and there was no injury mark on the body. The forest officials had then blamed snake bite.
"This clearly indicates the system at Sariska has collapsed. One can imagine a tiger being poisoned once it strays out of the forest premises. But this is a murder at home. The tiger was not tracked properly, and the staff didn't react even when its radio collar signals went dead," said a wildlife expert.