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Two tigers found dead in Maharashtra over the past weekend

Cases reported from Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve in Chandrapur and Pench Tiger Reserve in Nagpur

mumbai Updated: Feb 27, 2018 10:42 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Yeda Anna, who died on Sunday, had sustained grievous injuries during a fight with another male tiger earlier last week. (Maharashtra Forest Department )

Two tiger deaths were reported from different parts of the state over the weekend. The first death was reported from near Tadoba in Chandrapur district and the second from Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra.

In the first case, Yeda Anna (crooked tail), a former dominant male of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), Chandrapur, known to have fathered more than 30 cubs, was found injured near village Bhansuli in Murpar range of Chimur forest division last Wednesday (February 21), 15 km away from the tiger reserve.

“The tiger, about 14 years old, had recently fought with another male during which he injured his face and forelimbs. The animal was very old and weak,” said Kulraj Singh, deputy conservator of forest, Brahmapuri division, Chandrapur (territorial).

The tiger died on Sunday at 2 pm. While the autopsy was performed on the same day, forest officials are awaiting the report said Singh .

Read: Tiger killed on NH-6 near Nagpur, said to be Bajirao, star of Bor Wildlife Sanctuary

Following the tiger’s death, the state pulled up the forest department on Monday over the delay in providing treatment to the tiger. Officials from Mantralaya wrote to the principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF wildlife), asking for a report regarding why the animal was left untreated. The forest department [Nagpur] has been asked to submit the report to Mantralaya by Wednesday.

“Since there was a gap of five days after the injured animal was first spotted, local media reports alleged negligence by the forest department. The forest minister is upset over the news and the department has been asked to submit details regarding the delay in treating and tranquillising the animal, negligence in handling the situation, what were the procedures followed and details of the incident,” said Swapnil Deshbhratar, officer on special duty (wildlife wing), Mantralaya.

When HT contacted AK Misra, PCCF (wildlife), state forest department, he said, “I was on leave for a week and unaware of the incident. Please contact the Chandrapur forest office,” he said. V Shelke, chief conservator of forest, Chandrapur, was not available for comment.

Singh said the delay in tranquillising the animal occurred because permissions were not granted from the PCCF office on time. “After the fighting between the two tigers, our teams spotted Yeda Anna near a water hole. The next day, a committee was formed to tranquillise and treat the animal, which is as per national protocol. However, we received permission on Sunday, but by then the tiger had died,” he said. “We will respond to the state with these details.”

Read: 21 tiger deaths reported in 2017: It’s Maharashtra’s highest toll in a decade

In the second case reported from Pench, carcass of a male tiger was found floating in Pench river near Koltimara village on Saturday. While forest officers ruled out poaching, they suspect the animal might a have died during a fight with a crocodile.

“The autopsy report revealed that the carcass is at least three days old, as the body was decomposed severely. The lower portion of his hind leg was dislodged, probably by a crocodile, but the remaining limbs and claws were intact. The carcass was disposed of as per protocol,” said Ravikiran Govekar, conservator of forests and field director, Pench Tiger Reserve. “We found no external or internal injuries or signs that hints at electrocution, accident or bullet wound. However, we are investigating the possibility of poisoning.”

Experts said a investigation was needed in both cases. “It is strange that it took almost five days to issue permission to tranquillise the injured tiger, so that it could be given medical aid. In the second case, the crocodile could have eaten the carcass but it didn’t.Hence, poisoning could be one of the primary causes for the Pench tiger’s death,” said Tito Joseph, programme coordinator, Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI).

Yeda Anna, the former king of Tadoba

Local forest officers from the Brahmapuri division, Chandrapur, said Yeda Anna (crooked tail) or Wakdya shepticha was one of the most celebrated tigers from the area, known to have fathered over 30 cubs at Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR).

“Between 2004 and 2010, he was the prime territorial male tiger of Moharli range in TATR. He was the dominant male across a 150 sq km landscape. He was named Yeda Anna by one of guides because of his tail, which broke during a territorial fight. However, in 2010, during a fight with another male Waghdoh from TATR, Anna was driven out his range, and pushed towards the buffer areas of the forest,” said DP Chawande, range forest officer, Bhramapuri division.

He added that from then on Anna was spotted near Khatoda region from time to time. “The tiger was regularly challenged by other young males for territorial dominance. Since he was much older, and could not withstand the strength of younger males, his territory kept shrinking. Sadly, he ultimately died due to infighting only,” said Chawande.

First Published: Feb 27, 2018 09:36 IST