India

UPDATE: Experts doubt snakebite was cause of tigress’ death in Tadoba

UPDATE:

Though the investigators on Saturday rushed to attribute the death of a pregnant tigress near Jamni village inside Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve to snakebite, facts don’t appear to support the theory. The fact that the tigress had developed heamotoxic effects (blood-clotting) and had an instant death is being contested by experts who say that a strong animal like tiger would not die so soon even if bitten by cobra. Officials said that the body was fresh.

Incidentally, cobra poison is nuerotoxic; it affects the nervous system. Only vipers have haemotoxic venom but even humans can survive without treatment for days after a viper bite. “Even a cobra bite will take about 10 hours for the tiger to die. In that case the body will be swollen. If not, the cause is unlikely to be a snakebite,” said Vivek Sharma, a snake expert from Jabalpur.

TATR Field Director Virendra Tiwari did not elaborate on the issue and said, “Snakebite is the doctor’s opinion. Please talk to him.” P.D. Kadukar, the vet who performed the autopsy and had inferred that the prima facie possibility of a snakebite, said, “The body was fresh, there was no swelling and it was not even smelling foul. The tigress had died around 2 am. He said that going by the haemotoxic effect and internal bleeding, it seems like a snakebite. “We haven’t said that it was a viper that possibly bit it,” he said. Another fact that helps one rule out a viper bite according to Sharma is that in case the animal should have weakened and making it unable to hunt. “It wouldn’t be able to kill animal like Sambhar, which the tigress is said to have freshly consumed,” he said.

The Field Director said that the viscera of the tigress has been sent for forensic tests.

Source: Indian Express

ORIGINAL STORY:

A full grown tigress was found dead in Waghai nullah in Tadoba range of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in district on Saturday morning.

Ruling out poaching in this case, authorities claimed that beast died of snake bite. The deceased tigress was pregnant and vets discovered four foetus in her uterus during post mortem. With the death of this tigress, the tiger toll this year in Chandrapur has now reached 11.

Tourist guide Tulsi Ramteke, who took tourists from Kolkata for a safari in the park, first located the tigress carcass in compartment no. 95 in Kolara beat of Tadoba range early morning. “We crossed Pandharpauni area and headed through Waghai road. While passing along Waghai nullha at around 7.30 am, I located a tigress sitting half submerged in the stream passing through shrubby canopy,” said tourist guide Tulsi Ramteke talking to TOI.

Tourist Saurabh Chattarji and his group accompanying guide Ramteke took pictures and watched the tiger for some time. “I got suspicious as tiger remained still, not even fluttering its ears, for long time. Close examination with the help of binocular revealed that it was dead. Beast was sitting with hind legs submerged in stream and forelegs out of water and head bowed lull on the bank,” said Ramteke.

He reported the incident to RFO (Protection) S K Sonwane, who met midway, and also at park’s gate. Inspection of the carcass later revealed that it was tigress. Authorities closed Waghai circuit for the safari for the day to keep tourist away from the area.

Postmortem was carried out by the team of three vets on the spot. Honorary wildlife warden Bandu Dhotre and PH Dhanwatey were overlooked the postmortem as PCCF and NTCA representative respectively.

“Autopsy revealed that tigress died of snake bite. There was massive hemorrhage in the internal organs, which could have been caused due to poisoning,” said veterinary doctor PD Kadukar who was involved in the autopsy. He however claimed that bite marks can not be traced on hairy skin of the tigress.

Kadukar claimed that carcass was fresh and beast appears to have died during Friday night. There were no external injuries on the body of tigress, he added. “Deceased tigress was aged around six years and she was pregnant by one and half month. Four foetus including three male and a female was found in her uterus,” he said.

Foresters took pugmarks and stride length of the tigress to help her identification. It is possible that tigress was one moving with four cubs until recently. She had separated from her semi adult cubs a few months back.

Senior TATR officers including field director Virendra Tiwari, deputy director (core) Sujay Dodal, deputy director (buffer) P Kalyankumar, probationary IFS officer Ninu Somaraj, DFOs Girish Vashishtha and SV Malbhushi were present on the spot. Carcass of tigress was cremated on the spot, after postmortem formalities.

Source: Times of India