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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tiger found dead in Melghat reserve

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Apr 18, 2012, 06.15AM IST NAGPUR: At a time when Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR) has come out of the red with improved tiger sightings due to better protection, death of a tiger has come as a big blow to the reserve. With this, the death toll of tigers in Maharashtra in the past five months (since November 3, 2011) has mounted to eight. Maharashtra lost 7 tigers - 5 in Chandrapur district and 2 in Tipeshwar - in the past. A full-grown tiger was found dead 100 metres away from a water hole in Chourakund forest range in Sipna wildlife division of MTR on Monday, around 9pm by the patrolling staff. The last report of a tiger death in Melghat was seven years ago, officials said. "The foul smell led the staff to the putrefied carcass of the tiger. Over 40% body parts including claws and teeth were intact indicating there was no element of poaching," said AK Mishra, chief conservator of forests (CCF) and field director of Melghat. "The carcass is 8 to 10 days old and seems to have been eaten by small carnivores," he added. Mishra said that the tiger seems to have died due to old age as its canines showed wear and tear. He also ruled out poisoning as cause of death. "There is regular monitoring of water holes by the field staff and they were already on the job when they traced the tiger," he said. However, the post-mortem report will only reveal the exact cause of death. The park authorities were not sure whether to go for DNA testing to know whether the dead tiger was a male or female. The panchnama and post-mortem was performed in the presence of Sipna deputy conservator of forests, S Yuvraj and Amravati honorary district wildlife warden, Vishal Bansod who was present as the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) representative. Death of a tiger * Sipna tiger died due to old age, canines showed wear and tear * Carcass is 8-10 days old * 7 years ago last tiger death was reported in Melghat * State has lost eight tigers in last five months

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