Kathmandu, Nepal -- A Bengal tiger fitted with a GPS tracking collar and translocated from Nepal's Chitwan National Park to Bardia National Park has been killed, according to Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation officials.
Authorities believe the tiger, which was the first ever collared in Nepal, died after eating the flesh of a cow deliberately laced with poison. Three men suspected of involvement in the death have been arrested.
“Namo Buddha’s unfortunate end underscores the fact that efforts to protect Nepal’s tigers are a serious challenge and such efforts now need to be further strengthened and consolidated,” said Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF-Nepal.
“While many may now question the inherent use of the collar, it must be mentioned that it was because of the collar that officials were informed almost immediately of the incident and could nab three persons whose involvement was suspected.”
The charred remains of the tiger’s GPS tracking device was found near where it had last been geolocated. The animal’s body has not been recovered.
The tiger, discovered injured near Chitwan last year, was rehabilitated in captivity before being released into Bardia in January by WWF and Nepalese officials as part of a range expansion program.
“While this incident has been a turnaround to our conservation plans, it is in no way a deterrent to keep investing in people, science and technology to help protect wild tigers,” Manandhar said.
VIDEO: Namo Buddha being released into Bardia National Park, January 22, 2011