New Delhi: An adult male tiger that died in Pilibhit on Sunday after it was tranquilised for treatment had suffered grievous injuries, possibly with sharp and blunt objects, in the days prior to its death, postmortem has revealed.
The tiger’s postmortem was done at the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly, on Monday and the full report is likely to come out by the end of this week.
Sources said there were three major wounds on the tiger’s right flank that were possibly inflicted with a sharp, spear-like object that also led to a broken rib and pierced lung. The wounds had developed maggot infestations which suggested that the injury was old.
Besides, the tiger had suffered severe injuries on the right flank, possibly with blunt objects, because there was internal haemorrhage.
The three wounds were between the tip of the right shoulder and the tiger’s chest. Since the tiger already had grievous injuries, it has raised questions on whether the right dosage of drugs was used to tranquilise it. During the postmortem, veterinarians also found remnants of a wild boar.
“There were three wounds on the right flank and internal bleeding. The tiger weighed around 200kg and upon examination of its canines and claws, it was estimated to be between six- to eight-year-old,” said Lalit Verma, Chief Conservator of Forests (Rohilkhand zone), Bareilly.
A source said the injuries indicated they were not sustained due to a territorial fight with another tiger and there is a likelihood that the tiger was either attacked by poachers or someone else.
“The injuries from the sharp object are clearly not a sign of a territorial fight, but an injury inflicted with a spear-like object that was strong enough to not only cut through the skin but also break the ribs. The internal bleeding indicates that it may have been beaten up with rods,” the source said.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), a statutory body under environment ministry, has sought an independent fact-finding report on the incident. It has assigned the task to Naresh Kumar, Project Officer of World Wildlife Fund in Pilibhit.
The male tiger was first spotted in Lalpur village on Friday near the Mala range of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve and it had injured two villagers near a canal in an accidental encounter.
It had returned to the reserve area later in the evening. However, it was sighted again in farm fields on Sunday and local forest department officials noticed injuries on the tiger’s back.
According to officials, this prompted them to dart it with a tranquiliser to check its injuries. Officials said the tiger did not die immediately after it was tranquilised, but after it was taken to a rest house in Garha.