Hyderabad: The killing of a tiger in Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve near Mannanur in the Nallamalais took a new turn on Friday as the Mahbubnagar police booked a case against the person who had alerted the authorities in the first place.
Cases were booked against P. Vedantam, a news contributor of a vernacular daily, a teacher, an electricity department employee, a driver and others for entering the forest without the permission of the department.
The case was based on a complaint filed by Mannanur forest range officer B. Lakshman. The forest department has also booked a preliminary offence report under several sections of the Wildlife Protection Act.
The post-mortem report found that the tiger had died of “injury and sudden shock”. Foresters say this could have happenned due to poisoning. “Investigations so far note that the tiger had killed a cow of a villager two km from Mannanur. The villager then poisoned the carcass of the cow, which was consumed by the tiger.
It might have died after eating the poisoned carcass. Following the death, others spotted the dead tiger and chopped off its paw and took away the claws. The role of the reporter so far appears to be trespassing and not informing the cops or foresters. But we are investigating the allegations of the forest department too,” said an investigator.
The young male tiger that was killed in a tiger reserve was identified as ‘M2B3’ from the picture taken by a camera trap in May 2013 at Gajulavaripalli in Prakasam district. The animal had migrated to the Mannanur area in Mahbubnagar district, 50 km away.
The tiger was captured by the camera trap on May 15 and May 22, 2013, in three areas —Guttalacheney, G V Palli Range and Markapur.
Chief wildlife warden A.V. Joseph who visited the scene of the crime in Mannanur said the tiger was establishing his territory in the new region.
“The tiger crossed River Krishna before the rainy season. There is a tiger kill spot on the fringes of Mannanur. We appeal to locals not to poison cattle carcasses. We will give compensation for cattle killed by big cats. The punishment will be serious if they resort to poisoning,” Joseph said.
Locals poison cattle carcasses in order to poison the tigers that kill their livestock. A poisoned carcass was found near the body of the tiger. The four feet of the tiger had been hacked off for the claws, which are illegally sold for profit.
Investigations found that the whiskers too were cut. They sell for $500 each in China, a big market for tiger parts. Dr P. Srinivas Reddy of Nehru Zoo and Dr Madhusudhan Reddy, who conducted the autopsy on the tiger, said, “The death of the tiger may have taken place on January 19 or 20. It appears that while dying, it fell on the right side and struggled. The heart was empty of blood, which confirms the death was due to shock. There is no bullet wound or wound caused by a blunt object. The hind limbs are missing.
“The canine teeth were removed and thrown on the ground. The cattle kill and water body are within 1.5 km range of the incident. In organo-phosphorus poisoning, the animal drinks a lot of water. The final cause of death can be confirmed only after the lab results,” they said.