Bareilly (UP) | Post-mortem reports of two out of four carcasses of tigers that have died in the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve within the last two months have revealed head injuries, a senior scientist said on Monday.
One of the tiger's head injuries suggested that it was attacked by a bigger animal, said Dr AM Pawde, principal scientist and in-charge, Centre for Wildlife at ICAR-IVRI, Bareilly.
"In the examination, it was found that the tiger weighed 210 kg. The right elbow joint was injured and twisted. It had injury marks on its head, and it seemed that it was crushed. There were some scratches on its body," Pawde told PTI.
"It seems that some bigger animal had attacked the tiger, and it could be an elephant or a rhinoceros. Scratch marks were found on the rear side of the waist (right side), which indicate that the animal was bigger (in size) than the tiger," he said. The tiger's liver was also damaged, he added.
The post-mortem examination of another tiger revealed that its head injury was old, Pawde said, adding the big cat's body, including its intestines and head were filled with worms.
"It was healthy, but succumbed to the injuries 4-5 day ago. It also had acute shortage of water in its body. Blood had accumulated in its lungs and liver," Pawde said.
"Evidence of a pointed-horn piercing into the liver has been found. The liver was enlarged, and it was not able to run. It is also possible that owing to intense heat, it had consumed toxic meat," Pawde added.
The post-mortem of the third tiger was not possible as it was completely decomposed, the principal scientist said, adding that research is being conducted on it.
The post-mortem examination of the fourth tiger was conducted by Dr Dayashankar in Lakhimpur Kheri. He had sent the tissues for test here, and they are being examined, Pawde said.
Earlier on Friday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressed serious concern over the deaths of tigers in the tiger reserve and ordered a probe.
Four tigers have died since April 21 due to different reasons as stated by Dudhwa authorities. Taking cognisance of the casualties, Adityanath had directed the state forest minister, additional chief secretary, forest and other senior forest officials to visit Dudhwa National Park and carry out a thorough probe.
Adityanath has also sought a detailed report of the reasons behind the big cats' recent deaths, the official said.
On April 21, a two-year-old male tiger was found dead in the Dudhwa buffer zone. Officials said the young tiger might have eaten up some sharp bone leading to internal injuries causing stomach rupture, resulting in its death.
On May 31, a four-year-old male tiger died in the north Nighasan range of the Dudhwa buffer zone. Officials said its death was caused by a puncture wound in its trachea due to infighting.
On June 3, a two-year-old tigress died in a village in the Dudhwa buffer zone right under the eyes of forest officials and villagers. The tigress was reported to have its canines and paws damaged.
On Friday, the carcass of a six to seven-year-old male tiger was recovered from a pond in the Mailani range of Kishanpur sanctuary.