Forty Tiger Deaths in 14 months in Madhya Pradesh PDF Print E-mail

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

  • 2 of 3 cubs rescued in Bandhavgarh in January die of infection

  • The cubs were orphaned after poachers killed their mother by electrucution

  • Madhya Pradesh has seen 40 tiger deaths in last 14 months

BHOPAL: Two tiger cubs died in Madhya Pradesh's Shahdol district after being infected by the deadly parvovirus. Another three-year-old tiger was shot dead on Saturday, bringing the toll to three in the last 48 hours.

The tiger was found sitting motionless near a water body in Betul's Rathipur village on April 7. Foresters had tranquillized it and brought it to Van Vihar in Bhopal to see what was wrong with the big cat. It died on Saturday after 15 days of struggle.

Two poachers were arrested, and two muskets seized on Saturday. The recent deaths have taken the tiger toll in the state to 40 in the past 14 months.

The cubs which died were among the three to be rescued after poachers electrocuted their mother in Shahdol district on January 19. They were 'very weak and extremely exhausted' when Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (BTR) officials located them. Five poachers have, so far, been arrested for killing the cubs' mother.

Despite best efforts to save them, one cub died on Saturday afternoon and the other on Sunday morning. The third one that is also afflicted with the same virus is battling death. "We are not sure about the third one. Let us hope for the best," said BTR field director Mrudul Pathak.

BTR officials had tried to rear these orphaned cubs by placing a cuddly 'toy tigress' as a substitute for their mother and created an artificial jungle. The 'toy tigress' was fitted with synthetic nipples and a milk bottle to feed them. National Tiger Conservation Authority's Standard Operating Procedure on dealing with orphaned abandoned cubs was complied with.

The rescued cubs were diagnosed with parvovirus on April 12. Parvo is highly contagious and spreads from canine to canine by direct or indirect contact with their faeces. Infection leads to excessive bleeding and multiorgan failure causing death, sometimes within 48 hours.

The cubs battled for more than 10 days before giving up, said forest officials, and added that separation from their mother was the main reason why their condition worsened. Their blood samples have been collected and preserved for further investigation and preventive measures.