Injuries found on the skull of the tiger during post mortem conducted on Friday and the fact that none of the prized parts of the tiger including nails and teeth were found missing, have prompted investigators to believe that the tiger found dead in Bandhavgarh national park on Thursday could have been killed by irate villagers who have lost cattle to the tiger.
A tiger, aged about 7 years was found dead in a nullah near village Patrai in Bandhavgarh tiger reserve on Thursday. Forest department authorities have however not made any headway in the case as yet.
Man-animal conflict is not new at Bandhavgarh, with both man and tiger getting killed in the process. More than 10 people have been killed by tigers in Bandhavgarh in last 7 years.
During the post mortem conducted on the tiger on Friday, veterinarians concluded that the tiger seems to have been killed 2 days ago.
Part of the body including the head had putrefied. “There was a breach in continuity in the skull which could mean that the animal suffered injuries on the head. We have preserved the skull and other organs for forensic tests,” said field director, Bandhavgarh tiger reserve, CH Murlikrishna.
The outer portion of the skull had putrefied but the skull contained injury marks that could have been inflicted by a hard blunt object, said sources.
Three cattle owned by villagers have been killed by tigers in the last 2 months near Patrai, said the field director. “None of the vital parts such as nails, teeth or skin were found missing suggesting that poaching does not seem to be the motive. One line of investigation is that the tiger could have been killed by villagers upset at the loss of cattle to the tiger,” he said.
“The tiger could have been either trapped in snare and then killed by hitting with a hard blunt object or could have been sedated with poison mixed in the nullah water after which it was killed with an injury inflicted by a hard blunt object,” said a forest officer who is part of the investigating team.
Meanwhile, samples of water from the nullah were collected to test for traces of poison. The dog squad called from Jabalpur has not made much headway in the case either. The dog goes from the point where the tiger was found to the nullah and comes back, said a source.