Maharashtra: 7 tiger deaths in 12 days

With three tigers including two cubs killed in Chimur range of Brahmapuri forest division , Maharashtra has recorded loss of seven tigers in the last 12 days.

The Chimur tigers, a mother (5 years) and two cubs (10 months), died of poisoning. Of the seven dead, seizure of body parts of three tigers has been officially reported from Nakadongri range in Bhandara forest division while four died in Chandrapur district since June 26.

NTCA official database has so far not included loss of three tigers whose body parts were seized from poachers by Bhandara forest officials in last eight days. Two of the tigers were killed in last two months while one was killed last year. With these deaths, nationally the tiger toll has reached 63. Madhya Pradesh tops the chart with 18 deaths followed by 14 in Maharashtra. Forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has ordered probe.

The tigress and her cubs (a male and a female) were found dead at 7.45 am by Laxman Sarsakde, on the outskirts of Metepaar. Wildlife lover and founder of Tarun Paryavanwadi Mandal, Amod Gaurkar from Shankarpur was also informed and he called the forest officials. Sources said tigress and her cubs had consumed a calf owned by Metepaar’s Pandurang Choudhary (62). They said the calf was killed by village dogs and the owner had poured pesticide Thimet on carcass to kill the dogs.

Brahmapuri deputy conservator (DyCF) Kulraj Singh said, “We have arrested Choudhary who has confessed to poisoning the calf carcass to kill the dogs. All the tigers’ body parts have been found intact.”

Pramod Nagre of ZEP, a NGO working to save wildlife in the area, said, “Brahmapuri division is known for severe man-tiger conflict. Tigers here mostly depend on cattle. Who will believe the accused poisoned the calf to kill dogs?”

Brahmapuri division paid Rs.8.64 crore in 2018-19 towards compensation for cattle kills, human deaths, and crop damage. NTCA representative Gaurkar claimed tigers had been rarely seen near Metepaar village as forest is 7km away. The year 2019 has turned out to be deadly for tigers in the region. This is the second case of poisoning in six months.

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