A tiger which was partially paralysed after being shot by poachers in Betul earlier this month, died during treatment at Van Vihar national park centre here on Saturday.
This is the second tiger death in the state in last two days and eighth this year.
Sanjeev Jha, divisional forest officer (DFO) Betul told HT that all the five poachers accused of shooting the tiger have been arrested. He said three Korku tribals were arrested from Kumhartek area in Betul on April 14 with the joint efforts of forest officials, officials of forest department’s Special Task Force (STF) and police.
“The remaining two were arrested on Friday from Maharashtra. After questioning them, we have recovered the weapon from the place where they had hidden it”, he said.
The poachers allegedly used a muzzle loading gun to shoot the big cat.
On April 7, the three-year tiger was found injured and immobile in Betul’s Rathipur area. After local villagers informed forest officials, the tiger was rescued by a team from Satpura Tiger Reserve and shifted to Bhopal’s Van Vihar National Park which has a well-equipped wildlife rescue centre.
An x-ray revealed a round bullet in its abdomen, which was taken out after a surgery. The gunshot injuries had partially paralysed the tiger’s hind legs. Despite the best efforts of the veterinary doctors at Van Vihar, the tiger did not respond to treatment.
Read more: Paralysed tiger battling for life in Bhopal
A senior official in the STF told HT that vintage and locally made muzzle loading guns are mainly found in South Madhya Pradesh, North Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, especially among the Korku and Gond tribals. “This clue helped us a lot in nabbing the suspects and then arresting them”, he said, “In muzzle loading guns, different sizes of round pellets are used to kill different kind of wild animals. Bigger the animal, bigger the size of the pellet used”, he said
This is the second tiger death in MP in last two days. On Friday, a year-old tiger was found dead in Kanha-Pench corridor in Balaghat district’s Katangi forest area. Ashok Kumar, divisional forest officer Balaghat said the carcass was found at a watering hole in Katangi area in the Kanha Pench corridor.
“The tiger was perhaps ailing for sometime as it had lot of round worms in its belly. I think the mother abandoned the weakened tiger and it finally died of starvation and ailments. But exact reason will be clear after the post mortem,” he said.
Since January 2016, MP has lost 38 tigers. Last year the state recorded nearly one-third of the tiger deaths in the country, the highest for any state. Of 97 tiger deaths reported in the country in 2016, the highest since 2001, 30 were reported from MP.