Chennai, Sept 19 (BPNS)
Wild life conservationists and activists have demanded a detailed probe into the death of 9 tigers in the forest ranges of The Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. These deaths had occurred since August 16, 2023 and in a span of a month and a few days nine tigers dying is huge.
Dr. Satheesh Ram, Wild life conservationist and researcher based out of Theni in Tamil Nadu while speaking to BPNS said, “ Nine tigers including 5 cubs and 4 adults dying in a span of a month is serious and grave. Tamil Nadu forest department must conduct a detailed probe into the same and should not rest with mere superficial findings. It is to be noted that Project Tiger which was launched in the country in 1973 has led to the big cats still roaming and roaring in Indian forests and such a position should not be changed. We demand stringent action if any lapses are found.”
On August 16th and 17th, 2023, the carcasses of 4 tigers were found in different forest ranges of The Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. It was on August 16th that the workers of a tea estate in Mudimandhupirivu near to the Naduvattam forest range detected the carcass of an adult tiger. Postmortem was conducted which revealed that it was a seven year old female tiger that died due to territorial fight with another big cat.
However on August 17th, the carcasses to two tiger cubs and that of another adult tiger was detected in the nearby forest areas. This led to four tiger deaths in two days that include two cubs and two adult tigers.
In another disturbing incident on September 9th, the carcasses of two adult tigers were found near the Avalanche dam in the Nilgiris district on September 9th. This took the toll of the number of tiger deaths to 6.
Forest department officials had during a routine patrolling found a tiger dead and floating on the river channel beside the Emerald dam and 10 metres from where this body was recovered, the carcass of another tiger was found in a slush near a river channel.
The District Forest Officer of Nilgiris Forest division, S. Gowthaman while speaking to media persons said that there were circumstantial evidences that the tigers were poisoned. This was after the field staff of the forest division locating a dead cow near the carcass of the tigers.
The forest department conducted a detailed postmortem and found that one of the tigers had died due to territorial fight – maybe with the other tiger but the other one had insecticide poison in its viscera. A detailed probe found a local farmer living near the forest border being the culprit.
He confessed to the forest department that his cow was found dead a few days ago and on inspection it was learned that the cow was killed by a predator. He laced the dead body of the cow with an insecticide as revenge to kill the predator. One of the tigers had eaten the carcass of the dead cow and had died consuming the insecticide as well.
On September 17th, the forest department found one tiger cub dead in the Nilgiris forest area. The forest department immediately went for a search and found three tiger cubs out of which two had died and one was alive. The tiger cub that was alive was rescued and in the safe custody of the forest department.
The department has conducted a detailed postmortem and reports are yet to come on the same. However forest department officials clarified that a tigress would have abandoned its cubs as they were not feeding properly.
Kumaraswamy, a wild life conservationist and tiger expert while speaking to BPNS from Coimbatore said that there has to be a detailed probe and the statements of the forest department officials must have to be cross checked and verified.
He also demanded the forest department to search for the mother tiger and to clear the air of doubts on whether the tigress was killed by poachers.
The recent data of Tiger census revealed of a healthy figure of 306 tigers in 2023 as against a meager 76 tigers in 2006. However conservationists and wild life enthusiasts are of the opinion that the Tamil Nadu government must order a detailed probe into 9 tiger deaths in one month and hardly three days.