Three nails from a tiger found dead in Madhya Pradesh’s Bandhavgarh tiger reserve in June have gone missing, apparently while the carcass was in the custody of the park staff before a post-mortem, HT has learnt.
The seven-year-old tiger was found dead near Patrai village within the reserve on June 4, the initial cause of the death ascribed to a “territorial fight with another tiger”. The park management also told reporters that all the nails and teeth of the tiger were intact, suggesting it was not a case of poaching.
But when the post-mortem on the tiger began around 10 next morning the park veterinarian reported that three nails from one of the hind legs were missing. Field director, Bandhavgarh, CH Murlikrishna then ordered an inquiry but the probe has hit a dead-end.
“After I was informed of the missing nails, the investigating team was asked to check for the missing nails at the site where the tiger died and also if they were taken by someone. No leads were found,” Murlikrishna told HT.
Tiger body parts such as nails, teeth and skin fetch thousands of dollars in the international market, especially from traditional medicine makers in China who use big cat bones and penises as aphrodisiacs.
State forest department sources told Hindustan Times that the post mortem on the tiger was not done at the spot because it had got too dark and the park veterinarian suggested it be done the following morning.
A decision was then taken to shift the carcass to the park headquarters at Tala for the night.
During this time, the dead tiger was in the possession of the local forest department staff. The forest department is still to lodge a complaint over the missing nails.