Tigers in Uttar Pradesh are falling prey to pesticides. Five big cats were found dead in different parts of Pilibhit and Lakhimpur Kheri forests between May 2012 and April 2015. Samples of their carcasses tested positive for organochlorene pesticides, including DDT.
“Organochlorene pesticide, especially DDT, was found in the viscera of all the five tigers brought here for tests between May 2012 and April 2015. The tigers consumed the pesticides that led to their death,” said sources at the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI).
However, there is still no clarity on how the pesticides reached the tigers. Unconfirmed reports say tantriks may be using pesticides to kill tigers to get whiskers of the dead animal to use in occult practices.
Dheeraj Pathak, rescue chief of People For Animals (PFA) in the region, said tantriks may be involved in the deadly act of using pesticides to eliminate tigers for acquiring their body parts. They mainly want whiskers and nails of tigers, Pathak said, adding that tantriks reportedly use these parts in occult practices. “Presence of DDT in viscera of the dead tigers shows that their enemies are active around the forests,” he said.
The tiger that was found dead in south Phardhan area of south Kheri forest division on December 9, 2014, had also fallen prey to the pesticide, revealed the viscera test. A nail each of its forelimbs and part of the moustaches and jaws were missing from its carcass.
Principal scientist AK Sharma confirmed the presence of the pesticide in the viscera samples. “DDT is very dangerous for the big cats,” he said, adding that the pesticides directly attacked the vital organs of the tiger soon after they were consumed by the animal.
IVRI director Dr RK Singh said, “We are committed to the welfare of wildlife, especially the endangered species. Carcass samples brought to the IVRI for post-mortem examination are immediately attended and reports are prepared on the basis of findings.”