Jorhat, Dec. 27: A high alert has been sounded at Orang National Park following the recovery of a Royal Bengal tiger carcass yesterday.
The post-mortem report indicates the tiger may have died of poisoning.
The viscera has been sent to the forensic laboratory in Guwahati for confirmation.
Altogether 14 tigers were found during a census conducted last year.
Park director S.K. Daila said the carcass of the five-year-old female tiger was recovered from a dense forest area near the Pachnoi river by forest guards.
“The carcass bore no injury marks and there was nothing unusual noticed at the location from where it was found,” he said.
The recovery of the carcass comes amidst speculations that villagers residing near the periphery of the national park might try to poison tigers in retaliation to the increasing tiger attacks on cattle population in recent times.
Villages near Orang National Park have witnessed a rise in incidents of conflicts between Royal Bengal tigers and humans, with the big cats frequently straying out of the park and attacking cattle.
Tigers in the villages killed more than 20 cattle heads in the villages in the past few months.
Daila said there has been an increase in tiger population at Orang and, therefore, big cats are straying out of the park frequently. “The actual figure will be known only after a census but we have spotted two tiger cubs born a few months back,” he said.
The park official said a week back, two tigers strayed out of the park and entered a human habitat and the forest staff had to fire in the air to chase the two tigers back inside the park.
The park authorities signed an MoU with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) recently to minimise the increasing incidents of conflicts between tigers and humans.
According to the MoU, the WWF would pay interim relief to owners of cattle killed by tigers to gain the confidence of the villagers.
“We have also organised joint patrolling by villagers and forest guards in areas where there are frequent incidents of tigers killing cattle,” Daila said.
Forest guards today arrested one person from Nichlamari village for capturing and possessing a wild buffalo calf in his house which was born about 2-3 days back just outside the boundary of the park.
This is the first incident of a tiger dying of suspected poisoning at the park this year.
The last incident of poisoning took place at Orang on August 18 last year when an adult male tiger was found ill at the park.
Later the tiger died at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation near Kaziranga where it was shifted for treatment. At least 15 tigers have died in the park since 2005. While six of them died of poisoning, the rest died of infighting.