The Rajasthan government Friday ordered an enquiry into the poaching of a panther in the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar district here, officials said.
The body of an eight-year-old panther was found Thursday. Its neck was entangled in a snare set up by poachers, officials said.
The incident has caused fears among officials of poaching of tigers. There are five tigers residing in the sanctuary. They were relocated to Sariska from Sawaimadhopur's Ranthambore Tiger Reserve.
"Some forest guards spotted the panther's body and reported to their seniors. During preliminary investigation, it has come up that the panther was poached," a senior forest department officer said.
He added that state Forest Minister Bina Kak has ordered an enquiry into the poaching.
During 2004-05, the forest department and the state government faced all-round criticism over the disappearance of tigers from Sariska.
A report produced in March 2005 by the Wildlife Institute of India confirmed that there were no tigers left in the Sariska reserve at all. Poaching was found to be a reason for the dwindling tiger population.
Facing flak from different quarters, the state government decided to relocate tigers from Ranthambore National Park in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan to Sariska.
But the incident of panther's poaching has again invited ire from the wild life experts.
"The incident shows that the state government is unable to protect wild animals in Sariska. In place of the panther, it could have been a tiger," said Ritesh Sharma, a wildlife lover.
The Sariska Tiger Reserve, originally a hunting preserve of the erstwhile princely state of Alwar, was declared a wildlife reserve in 1955.