BHOPAL: A sub-adult tigress was found under mysterious circumstances in Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh.
All its body organs were intact and poaching attempt has been ruled out by the officials. Some however suspect it as a case of electrocution or poisoning on grounds that it had bleeding from mouth. Autopsy has been scheduled for Saturday.
Carcass of tigress was seen floating in Rajiv Gandhi irrigation canal near Waraseoni thehsil’s Khadagpur village (Ansira gram panchayat) which is roughly 20 kms away from the Maharashtra border, officials informed. They believe this tigress must have dispersed from Maharashtra’s Bhandara district following forest connectivity. Villagers informed that flow of the canal was high on Wednesday, and therefore it would have floated from somewhere else. Tigress must have died on Thursday.
“Unfortunately spot where this tigress was found and the stretch up to Sonewani forest area is all agricultural land. It was spotted by a passerby around 11 am and we came to know after two hours,” said an officer. Dog squads were sent to the area for search, but no clues were found, he said.
Its stripes could not be matched with any of the big cats in data base available with the Pench and Kanha tiger reserves, sources say. Pictures have been shared with Maharashtra and WII-Dehradun for further verification.
Environmentalist Ajay Dubey blames state forest department for the death. “Instead of taking care of the wildlife forest department has shut down its offices in the name of covid. Mismanagement is leading to continues death of tigers. If this goes on, we won’t be a tiger state soon,” Dubey says.
WWF-India had been working on multiplying the tiger population in Balaghat for long- they call it a tiger recovery site or TX2 site. Target was to double up the number of tiger population in this region by 2020. Nothing much happened, say sources.
If a WWF report is anything to go by, Balaghat tiger recovery site is situated in the biodiverse Maikal hills, comprising 963 km2 of forests. It is strategically located in the corridor regions connecting several source population sites, including Kanha and Pench Tiger Reserves in Madhya Pradesh with protected areas of low tiger densities such as Achanakmar Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh and Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra, says a report titled “The Balaghat Tx2 Recovery Site: Status of Tigers and Conservation Assessment (2014-2017)”.
Characterized by hills, plateaus, and valleys carved by the Wainganga river and its tributaries, it has significant potential to support a sizable tiger population, they believe.
Focus of the WWF project was – to collate relevant information on key issues, threats, and opportunities for the recovery of large mammal populations in Balaghat; to analyse camera trap data collected between 2014 and 2017 to provide information on the status of tigers and leopards in this Reserve Forest and analyse the activity patterns of large carnivores and their ungulate prey with respect to human and livestock activities.
And, also to advance our understanding of the factors that may limit the distribution, density, and long-term survival of tigers in the Balaghat tiger recovery site and to use this information to plan future conservation interventions.
Between 2014 and 2017, surveys conducted by WWF-India within the tiger recovery sites yielded estimates of 4–9 tigers with associated densities ranging from 0.46 to 0.87 individuals/100 km2.
“These densities are likely influenced by various factors, including prey density, water availability, and human presence and inadequate infrastructure for wildlife protection relative to Protected Areas” report says.
“Over the years, several breeding tigers have been recorded within the Balaghat recovery site, attesting to the potential to support a local resident population, potentially at higher densities”.
This study focuses on the tiger densities and abundance of the Balaghat tiger recovery site, a contiguous forest that is 20% of the total area under the Balaghat Forest Circle. Studies on threats that may hamper.