Tigress, three cubs found dead in Goa forest in four days

(Eds: Updating with fourth tiger death) Panaji, Jan 8 (PTI) Carcasses of a tigress and a cub were recovered from Mahadayi Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa's Sattari taluka, days after her two other cubs were found dead, a forest department said on Wednesday.

The forest department recovered the carcass of a tigress and the cub was found within one-kilometre radius, during a combing operation, the official said.

Two of her other cubs were found dead on Sunday and Tuesday, he added.

The tigress and her three cubs were captured roaming in the area on the cameras set up by the forest department on December 23, 2019.

The carcasses were recovered in the forests of Golavali village in Sattari's Thane-Dongurli panchayat.

Forest department officials have rounded up four suspects, who are being questioned for their alleged involvement in the offence.

The forest department prima facie suspects that the big cats were poisoned in a 'revenge killing' for preying on cattle in the village.

A combing operation has been launched in the Mahadayi forests to look for more carcasses of tigers, the official said.

A case has been registered against unidentified persons under the Wildlife Protection Act.

Environmentalist Rajendra Kerkar, who has been camping near the site, lamented that the forest department did not have proper infrastructure to conduct post-mortem to ascertain the cause of death.

State health minister Vishwajit Rane has demanded investigation by a Central team into the deaths.

Rane, in whose Assembly constituency the deaths were reported, has asked Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar to send a central team for investigation.

Earlier in the day, Rane tweeted, 'With reference to the two cubs that have been found dead at Mahadayi wildlife Sanctuary, Sattari, I would requestion Union Minister for Forest Shri @PrakashJavdekar to intervene and send a central team to conduct a detailed investigation into the matter.' PTI RPS ARU ARU