Mumbai: A four-year-old pregnant tigress was found charred to death and her carcass brutalised by poachers in the Mukutban range of Pandharkawada taluka of Yavatmal district. The poachers had chopped off both her front paws to extract the claws. She was reportedly carrying four cubs.
A forest department officer who visited the site, told The Free Press Journal, “The poachers had lit a fire at the entrance of the cave where the tigress was, making it difficult for her to come out. They did not just stop there but to confirm that she was dead they used a sharp weapon, inflicting further injuries on her . A forest department team on patrol, found the carcass on Monday morning. Thereafter, a high-level team visited the spot and an inquiry is being conducted into the incident.”
Deputy Conservator of Forests Raju Bansod informed, “The tigress was found dead near a nullah in the forest. The carcass had injuries caused by a sharp weapon. An iron wire was found around her neck and her front paws were chopped off.” The report of an autopsy conducted on Sunday is awaited.
The officer said this was the second time in a month that a tiger was killed. On November 22 last year, a pregnant tigress was found dead in a suspicious manner in the Umred Karand sanctuary in Yavatmal district. “With the poaching of two tigers on March 24, the toll since January 1, 2021 (81 days), has mounted to 14, including two cubs. After this latest killing, the toll has risen to 17,” said another forest officer.
The tiger census of 2019 has recorded a 64 per cent increase in the population of big cats in Maharashtra since 2014. In 2018, their number in the state was estimated at 312. Sadly, however, Maharashtra tops in tiger deaths, accounting for 41 per cent of the nationwide mortalities.