Nagarhole tiger death: Experts question tiger marks on walls
Deccan Chronicle| amit s. upadhye
Experts are questioning the apparent tiger nail marks on the walls of the forest quarters
(Left) This is how the tiger was first found. (Right) Picture show that the marks are not possibly made by a tiger or a leopard but by someone using a sharp object (Photo: DC)
Bengaluru: Experts are questioning the apparent tiger nail marks on the walls of the forest quarters, where the predator died during a duel with a leopard. Forest officials said that the incident took place on August 29, when a tiger, which was chasing a leopard, tried to scale the walls of the forest quarters. Failing, it crashed to the ground and died of a brain hemorrhage. Foresters used the nail marks as the main piece of evidence to back their story, but so far, not a single person within the Balle camp, where the incident took place, has seen the two animals.
The tiger experts have noted that the nail marks seem to have been made by a sharp object ad not a tiger. Pictures made available to DC hint that the marks on the wall do in fact differ from actual nail marks that are usually seen on trees.
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"The flaws that were raised initially continue to exist and the Forest Department has done nothing to clear the air around the tiger’s death. The ultimate cause for the tiger’s death could be brain haemorrhage, but we must know what led to that. Did a vehicle hit a tiger or did it really hemorrhage? These questions must be answered. We see cats falling from two-storey buildings and not being hurt at all. Similarly, tiger skulls have a solid padding which will not break from a 12-foot fall. A tiger rises to that height when it is on its hind legs," one expert said, on condition of anonymity.
Rumours doing the rounds at the Balle camp, which is within the Nagarhole Reserve, say that safari vehicles belonging to JLR Resort (Kabini) have not sighted either a tiger or a carcass in the area where the forester claims to have discovered the body on Sunday morning. "We are demanding an independent inquiry by a team of police as the forester department’s theory has glaring loopholes.
Read | Nagarhole tiger death: Forester had a leopard in his house, claim villagers
The nail marks and registering a walkie-talkie message in HQs on the night of the fight leads to suspicion that some of the evidence was fabricated," said another wildlife expert.
The Chief Wildlife Warden of the state, Mr Ravi Ralph has said that the Department is waiting for the forensic report from a laboratory in Bengaluru. "The forensic report is crucial and will put light on the cause of tiger’s death," he said.
Fear of big cat haunts Belagavi again
Only months after a man-eating tiger was killed in Khanapur, another huge specimen was spotted near Belagavi, in Karle village. The tiger was spotted inside the village on Tuesday and sitting in the fields on Wednesday.
In November, a four-year-old tiger created havoc in the same area, straying into several other villagers and the VTU campus in Khanapur Taluk. It was shot dead a day after it killed a woman. Since then, the people of Karle and those in the surrounding villages have been living in fear, even avoiding stepping out of their homes after dark. A fresh sighting of one more big cat has terrified the locals. Yeshwant Patil, who lives in the area, said that the tiger was merely 50 meters away from him when he was on his way to fields at Karle.
Horrified, he ran back toward the village to try and escape. The previous day, the animal was spotted by Dhondiba Patil, who saw it when he was out grazing his cattle. However, the villagers brushed off his claims, saying that he might have mistaken a leopard for a tiger – leopards are often sighted in those areas. He insisted that the animal was too big to be a leopard. Officials from the Forest Department responded at once to the villagers’ demand for security and rushed to the spot to conduct a search operation. The villagers have asked officials to find the tiger and release it deep inside the forest.