Dead tiger in Sunderbans had swallowed king cobra | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Dead tiger in Sunderbans had swallowed king cobra

The 14-year-old tiger that was found dead two days ago in Sunderbans of West Bengal had swallowed two snakes, including a venomous king cobra, before it succumbed to liver infection, a senior state forest official has said.

delhi Updated: Jul 19, 2009 10:45 IST

The 14-year-old tiger that was found dead two days ago in Sunderbans of West Bengal had swallowed two snakes, including a venomous king cobra, before it succumbed to liver infection, a senior state forest official has said.

"It was a startling revelation for us when we found the pieces of the snakes inside the tiger's stomach. One of them was a king cobra while the another was a commonly found reptile species," Atanu Kumar Raha, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) of West Bengal, told PTI.

It is probably for the first time that a tiger having consumed poisonous reptiles like cobra has come to the knowledge of wildlife officials, Raha said.

He said hostile ecological and riverine conditions make the Sunderban predators more hardy and agile when compared to their counterparts in other reserves. "As the predator was aged, it might be possible that it could not hunt carnivorous animals."

The official ruled out that the big cat's death was due to snake venom or poaching as there was no injury mark neither any gunshot on its body.

It had died due to some bacterial infection in its liver that might have deteriorated after consuming the reptiles. Cobra hoods were found to be intact while there were pieces of body part of snakes in the big cat's viscera."

Besides Raha, other Sunderban Tiger Reserve officials and World Wildlife Fund (WWF)'s Anurag Banda who was appointed as nominee by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) were present during the post-mortem of the animal.

As per NTCA guidelines, the post-mortem has to be conducted in the presence of its nominee.