National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has written a letter to state government, expressing doubts over the death of a tigress in Bandhavgarh, on May 11 this year.
The letter states that the death of the tigress might have occurred due to a road hit, given the ‘traumatic head injury’, which is generally not the case with territorial fights or fights with other wild animals.
The NTCA has asked the chief wildlife warden Madhya Pradesh to submit a report ‘so as to arrive at a logical conclusion in respect of the mortality of the tigress which occurred at Pataur’, Bandhavgarh. In the letter dated October 7, 2014, the NTCA stresses that ‘attempts to rule out mortality due to a road hit may be highlighted.’
Confirming the development, state wildlife warden Narinder Kumar said though they have earlier submitted the report of the post-mortem and other photographic details regarding the death of the tigress, they ready to provide more details. “As NTCA wants us to reply to their doubts, we are going to send all the details as desired by them. We will soon reply to the letter,” he added.
In his report on the death of the tigress, submitted to the state wildlife warden in September this year, Bandhavgarh tiger reserve field director CH Murlikrishnan ascribed the cause of the death of the tigress either due to a ‘territorial fight’ or attack by a ‘horned animal’, ruling out the death due to poaching.
The report while referring to the post-mortem analysis, says that the tigress had deep wounds on her face and she suffered ‘fatal traumatic head injury’, because of which she died.
Over the past five years, some 16 tigers have died in Bandhavgarh, mostly from territorial fighting among tigers as well as poaching, leaving wildlife experts and activists worried about the future of the animals in what is considered among the safest sanctuaries for tigers in India.
The killing of two tigresses earlier this year, including a radio-collared tigress in Bandhavgarh prompted the NTCA to ask its regional office in Nagpur to look into the cause of growing tiger deaths in the reserve. Painting a grim picture of the reserve, the NTCA report later said that in the buffer area, barring very few places, there was hardly any system of daily patrolling along power transmission lines or water holes. No records had been maintained and daily activities of field staff could not be monitored, the report pointed out.
Also, the NTCA supervisory checks and field review mechanism for efficient patrolling were found to be missing in the buffer area and not visible even in some core areas like Panpatha and Pataur.