Bandhavgarh’s “most beautiful tigress” has been found dead, stuffed in a sack and dumped in a well in the buffer zone of the tiger reserve.
Tigress T32—a photographer’s delight and such a familiar sight that locals gave it a nickname—was already decomposing when its carcass was found, weighed down by two large stones. The magnificent stripes that made it popular stood out even in death and decay.
“There were deep wounds on its face. The exact cause of death has not been ascertained, but we will get those involved,” Bandhavgarh tiger reserve field director Vincent Rahim said.
The facial wounds seem to have been inflicted by an axe, said officials; perhaps a failed attempt at extracting the fangs. All body organs are intact. “It is possible that the tigress fell victim to electric wire traps laid by poachers for game meat. There is another wound on its face which seems to be made by a spear,” said an officer.
T32 was14 years old and had delivered nine cubs in three litters in 2011, 2013 and 2015.