Death of Royal Bengal tiger Mahavir in Odisha reserve deals a blow to translocation of big cats; govt orders probe

Bhubaneswar: A male Royal Bengal tiger that was translocated from Madhya Pradesh to Odisha, was found dead in the core area of the state's Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary, dealing a blow to the country's first inter-state, wild-to-wild translocation of big cats.

Shortly after the incident, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) advised the Odisha government to temporarily halt the inter-state tiger translocation programme, till an investigation is completed and a thorough review conducted, a senior forest department official said.

As part of the programme, six tigers were to be brought to Odisha from Madhya Pradesh and two of the big cats had already been procured by the state in June, he said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

While the exact reason behind death of the three-year-old tiger, named 'Mahavir', could be ascertained only after a post-mortem, the state government on Thursday ordered a departmental inquiry into the incident after the carcass of the animal was spotted on Wednesday.

"Ramasamy P, DFO, Satkosia Wildlife Division, has been appointed by the field director, Satkosia Tiger Reserve, as investigating officer to carry out a detail inquiry into the matter for initiating further course of action," an official statement released by the reserve said.

Odisha's forest and environment additional chief secretary S C Mohapatra confirmed the tiger's death and said the principal chief conservator of forests, wildlife, has rushed to the spot.

He said a member of the NTCA would be in the team which would conduct the post-mortem. An investigation of the carcass showed a deep, lacerated wound in the dorsal neck region of the tiger, which could be the cause of the death, another official said.

He said the wound might be due to fight with other wild animals or the tiger could have been caught in a snare net.

"The site of the incident was not disturbed as per NTCA protocol. Hence, the exact reason of the mortality and time of the incident will be ascertained after a detailed post-mortem," Ramasamy said.

The tiger was brought from Madhya Pradesh's Kanha Tiger Reserve on 21 June and released into the wild on 7 July. A radio collar was fitted on its neck to keep track of the animal's movement.

Signals from the radio collar had indicated on Wednesday the animal was immobile, forest department officials said.

The other Royal Bengal Tiger, a female named 'Sundari', procured by the Odisha government has allegedly killed two people, prompting the state government to shift her to a special enclosure at Rayagada area in Angul district.

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Updated Date: Nov 15, 2018 19:27:31 IST

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