The spot where the tiger was found is 15km from Pench reserve but just 6km from Mansinghdeo sanctuary. Although exact cause of death is not known, tiger is suspected to have died of electrocution, thanks to the negligence of MSEDCL staff that once again did not report it. The tall claims of protection by forest staff were also exposed as the carcass lay in forest for 15 days without anyone spotting it.
According to sources, the putrefied carcass was found in compartment 582 in Harnakund nullah at 3pm. The tiger is young and lay 24 metres from a 11kv electric line passing over the spot. The area is 270 metres on left of Nagpur-Jabalpur highway. A source said skin of the tiger looks charred. An electric wire was also found near the spot indicating that it must have been connected to 11kv line to kill wild animal. They also said there were cattle kills in the area where carcass was found.
However, P K Mahajan, deputy conservator of forests (DyCF), Nagpur division, said, “it is too early to say whether the animal died of poisoning or electrocution. Only a post-mortem, to be conducted on Friday, will reveal the cause. Portion below the tiger’s abdomen was badly decomposed and we could know it was tiger only from the stripes on skin.”
Honorary district wildlife warden Kundan Hate will be present as National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) representative and Sanjay Deshpande will represent chief wildlife warden SWH Naqvi during post mortem. Chief conservator of forest (CCF) and Pench field director M S Reddy, who too rushed to the spot, suggested calling in dog squad in Chandrapur to provide clues in such cases.
Interestingly, the incident came to light a day after a training session by Nitin Desai, Central India director of Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), for forest staff and MSEDCL employees on Wednesday specifically about detecting electrocution cases of poaching. The drive was launched on Thursday. “Shockingly, not a single MSEDCL employee attended the training session perhaps knowing well that a tiger had died due to electrocution in Harnakund nullah,” sources said.
“When crores of rupees are being spent to save tigers, the casual patrolling and protection from top to bottom seems disgusting. The head of the forest force (HoFF) has not called a meeting on protection of forest and wildlife demanded four months ago,” alleged Siraj Patel, central president of Maharashtra State Forest Guards, Forest Employees and Forest Labourers Union.
Mahajan admitted negligence on part of field staff who failed to notice the carcass of the tiger in 15 days.