Mystery shrouds the death of three tigers in a row in the Terai forests of Uttar Pradesh over the past few days.
While a three-year-old tiger was found dead Sunday in the Kishunpur sanctuary under the Dudhwa National Park, about 250 km from Lucknow along the Indo-Nepal border, another full-grown dead tiger was discovered in Haripur forest range in the neighbouring forests of Pilibhit on Friday.
And a day prior to that, the body of yet another tiger was found in the bushes barely 250 metres away in the same area.
Chief Wiildlife conservator Roopak Dey attributed the deaths to "infighting" among tigers. While his claim about the dead tiger in Kishunpur is not disputed, sources in Pilibhit maintained that death of two tigers in a row was the result of "poisoning".
"Of late a gang of poachers has been on the prowl in the UP Terai forests, particularly on the periphery of the Dudhwa National Park and we have reason to believe that the two tigers found dead in Pilibhit were victims of this gang," claimed a wildlife enthusiast residing from Pilibhit.
"Also the fact that there were no injury marks on the bodies of both the tigers shows that they have been poisoned," he added.
However, as far as the Dudhwa tiger was concerned, conservator Dey was confident, "It was a consequence of a fight between two tigers, which usually happens when a tiger ventures into the territory of another."
He said, "The wounds on the face, his broken canines and injuries on the front paws of the dead tiger were a clear indicator of a physical clash between two animals."
Dey, who is camping in the forests, also commissioned a sniffer dog squad from the cops guarding the Indo-Nepal borders to trace the route the dead tiger took to reach the spot where it was discovered.