Ten tigers died in Kaziranga since November '08

K Anurag in Guwahati | February 16, 2009 14:58 IST
Last Updated: February 16, 2009 15:53 IST

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Even as the green brigade has raised the alarm over the possibility of poaching as the reason behind tiger deaths in the famous Kaziranga National Park in Assam, the Wildlife authority in Assam attributes reasons other than poaching as the cause behind the deaths. Ten tigers in the park have been found dead since November 2008.

A senior wildlife official in the state claimed that poaching can hardly be the reason for tiger deaths in Kaziranga Park given that all the carcasses were found. He said when tigers are killed by poachers, the carcass is taken away to extract body parts and skin which fetch huge sums of money in the illegal international market for wildlife.

The wildlife authority in Assam believes that fighting amongst the growing tiger population in Kaziranga is the main reason behind the deaths of tigers in the national park . The authority has already engaged a Non-Governmental-Organisation, Aaranyak, to conduct a census of tigers in the park, using the camera trap method to find out the density of population.

A wildlife official said the authority can conduct its own investigation to find out the cause of the tigers' deaths. According to the state wildlife department, out of the ten tigers found dead, three died of old age, one was killed by a buffalo during a fight, one was poisoned to death by villagers for killing livestock, two died of wounds from fights with other tigers and three died of unknown causes. 

Some carcasses were found in such a decomposed state that did not allow collection of sample for post mortem.

The Kaziranga National Park was declared a Tiger Reserve by the Government of India under the Project Tiger in the year 2006. The last tiger census carried out inside the park in 2000 had counted 86 tigers inside the park