Three tigers dead in a fortnight

The tiger found dead near Pench Tiger Reserve on Thursday appears to have been electrocuted, preliminary findings of vets reveal.

"Doctors say it is a preliminary finding. Samples have been sent to the forensic lab for confirmation," said Deputy Conservator of Forests (Nagpur) P K Mahajan.

"The tiger was about 1-12 years old," he added.

"Three persons from two nearby villages have been detained for interrogation and we have suspended forest guard B S Atkar and forest worker Ruprao Uike for negligence,' Mahajan said.

The spot is barely 300 metres from the National Highway that runs close to the tiger reserve.

Wildlife crime expert and central India director of Wildlife Protection Society of India Nitin Desai had advised the Forest ground staff to regularly check patches near electricity distribution lines. "Our staff were checking the line as advised when the carcass was found," Mahajan admitted.

Mahajan admits to negligence on the part of the ground staff like guards and round officers as the tiger died about 15 days ago. "This means nobody checked the area for so many days," he said. Incidentally, the tiger was found dead a day after a workshop for the staff of Forest and Irrigation departments and Electricity Distribution Company MSEDCL at Paoni, close to Deolapar range. No one from MSEDCL had attended the meeting.

With Thursday's incident, the state has seen three tiger deaths. One died of "natural causes" in Brahmapuri and aother was shot last week near Navegaon National Park after it killed five women in 20 days.

Mahajan has stressed the need for shifting the electricity line out of the forest. "Now under Forest Rights Act, I have the authority to grant land up to one hectare so the line can be shifted out an re-installed along the highway," he said.

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