Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tiger cub found dead in Bandipur

The carcass of an eight-month tiger cub was found in the Maddur range of the Bandipur national park on Wednesday, taking the death toll to six in this tiger reserve since August 2009.

“Evidently, the tiger might have died eight days ago. Though the carcass was found deep in the forest near a cattle kill, the post mortem did not indicate that the cub may have been poisoned.” said B K Singh, Chief Wildlife Warden.

Shockingly, Mr Singh suggested that the cub could have been killed by its mother. We have heard tales of a male killing cubs, more of other tigers' off-spring. But a mother killing its own cub is bewildering indeed.

Obviously, the CWW has no wildlife background. In such a scenario, he should make no comment at all. He has embarassed the IFS cadre in Karnataka and Dr Rajesh Gopal, member-secreatry, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

According to Sanjay Gubbi, India program officer of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), there was nothing left of the cattle kill and the cub. “The cattle kill was dry and there was very left of the cub to do a post-mortem.”

There is concern that the mother might have perished after sharing the kill with its cub. “Normally a mother does not abandon a cub so young. There was concern that the tigress may also have died. But there were no such indication,” said Gubbi.

Though as many as six tigers have died in the Bandipur reserve in six months and the paws of a dead tiger are yet to be recovered, Karnataka’s chief wildlife warden was unperturbed. “I should worry if there are any unnatural deaths. But most have died naturally,” said B K Singh, who had asked conservationists if there were tiger sand elephants in California when he assumed office as the CWW.

God save our wildlife.

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