A four-year-old tiger belonging to Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve (MHTR) in Kota district was found dead on Thursday near a water body in Mashalpura forest near here days after being seen limping by forest officials. Known as MT-3, the deceased wild cat, after its autopsy by a three-member team of doctors, was found having 'severe lungs infection'.
It was suspected to have died of 'cardiac arrest' as it was also having enlarged heart with clots in the chambers, said doctors who conducted its autopsy. The postmortem on MT-3 was conducted on Thursday noon by a team of Dr Rajiv Garg of Sawai Madhopur and Dr Akhilesh Pandey and Dr Tejendra Reyad of MHTR.
After the postmortem, the wild cat was cremated in the tiger reserve in presence of Chief Conservator of Forests Anand Mohan, Deputy Chief Conservators of Forests Mohanraj and Ramganjmandi SDM and DySP, they said. Originally belonging to the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve (RTR) in Sawai Madhopur district, the deceased wild cat had wandered into the MHTR of Kota in February 2019 through the natural 150-km-long tiger corridor existing between the two reserves, MHTR officials said.
Being an offspring of another RTR tiger T-60, MT-3 was originally known as T-98, but after it arrived at the MHTR, it was named MT-3, being only the third tiger after MT-1 and MT-2 in its new home, they said. MHTR officials said a monitoring team of the tiger reserve had spotted the tiger on Sunday.
It was seen limping with its left hind leg but with no apparent physical injuries, they said. The monitoring of the wild cat was subsequently intensified and a pet was offered to it the same day to check if there was any health abnormality but the big cat made the kill and consumed it, they said.
As no improvement was seen in the animal's limp, the MHTR authorities sought permission to tranquillize it and treat it and called Dr Garg from Sawai Madhopur for it. He reached Kota on Wednesday and the animal was to be tranquillized on Thursday morning but before the operation could be executed, the animal was found dead in MHTR.
As the medical team set out to tranquillize the tiger on Thursday, the monitoring team first found it sitting in a water body at around 6 am. But it moved out of it shortly later and collapsed on the ground, they said. By the time the medical team reached it at around 7.15 am, it was dead, they added.
Severe infection was found in the lungs of the animal and the clots both of blood and fat were found accumulated in the heart, blocking its chambers. The size of the heart too was a little enlarged, Dr Garg told reporters. Samples of all vital organs of the animal have been sent to the lab for a detailed examination to ascertain the actual cause of death, he said, adding the fluid mixed with blood and pus was oozing out of the dead tiger's body and it indicated some long-term infection.