NAGPUR: Just a week before tiger census is to begin in Maharashtra, the count is already one down in the state. The carcass of a tiger was found in Melghat on Friday morning. The carcass was found in compartment number 278 of Raipur range in Sipna Wildlife Division of Melghat Tiger Reserve.
The counting of tigers, co-predators, prey and their habitat in the protected and non-protected areas of the states for the all India tiger estimation 2014 will be held in the state from January 16 to 23. The exercise, a collaborative initiative of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Delhi, and Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, is conducted every four years and was last held in 2010 in the 17 tiger bearing states.
Now, the state has lost one more of its tigers before this census, apart from the many lost to poaching. But officials say that prima facie evidence shows that the death may have been due to natural causes. The area where the carcass was found is near to Madhya Pradesh border which the experts believe is very porous in terms of movement of poachers. However, forest officials said since all the body parts of the tiger were intact death due to poaching can be ruled out.
The carcass of the tiger was found on Friday morning by forest department personnel who were patrolling the area. Forest officials conducted post mortem. Further investigation is on, informed senior forest officials.