A five-year-old male tiger in Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR), who had sustained injuries in a fight with another tiger, succumbed to his injuries while he was being shifted for treatment. Wildlife activists have accused the Karnataka Forest Department of botching up the process and the way the tiger was shifted.
The male tiger was in a serious condition after he got into a fight with another tiger, a forest department official said on Friday. "The tiger had suffered injuries on its left limb and eyes in a fight with another tiger," Bandipur Tiger Project Director SR Natesh had said. The tiger was being shifted from Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Chamarajanagar district to Bannerghatta Rescue Centre in Bengaluru for treatment when he died en route, Bandipur Tiger Reserve Director SR Natesh had stated in a release.
According to a statement released by the BTR director's office, upon spotting a tiger with injuries during a patrol on Thursday, the employees of Gundre range had alerted the Special Tiger Protection squad. According to the statement, the squad resorted to rescue the injured tiger by placing a cage. However, the squad failed to trap the tiger and as a result, used tranquillizer darts. The tiger died while it was being taken to the centre.
Taking to Facebook, wildlife activist Joseph Hoover of United Conservation Movement asked why two darts were fired at an injured and emaciated tiger. He said that the authorities justified their decision on the grounds that the tiger was weak and emaciated and hence the strength of the first dosage was reduced. "As the tiger could not be tranquilised with the first dose, another dart was shot," Hoover claimed in his post.
Hoover, who is also a member of the State Wildlife Board, said it was obvious that the wildlife veterinarian miscalculated the weight and condition of the tiger. He also alleged that the National Tiger Conservation Authority's SOPs (standard operation procedure) was not followed in this instance.
“Was there another veterinarian assisting Dr Vaseem Mirza who shot these dots? Was there a biologist on-ground? Why was the tiger sent to Bannerghatta rehabilitation centre (140 km) and not Koorgalli (70km) when its condition was precarious?" he asked, taking to Facebook.
He added that there was no doubt the tiger wouldn't have survived but it would have been prudent on part of the forest authorities to follow as many norms as possible.
With IANS inputs