Poisoning could be behind tiger`s death: Ramesh

Environment Minister indicated more heads may roll following translocated tiger`s death at Sariska.

Sariska: The death of a translocated big
cat is shrouded in mystery but there is a possibility of
poisoning, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Wednesday as
he indicated that more heads may roll in the wake of the

"Both the Central and state governments have failed in
saving the animal. Yet it appears to be a mystery. No bullet
wound (was found)... I think there is a very preponderant
possibility of poisoning," Ramesh said as he visited the
sanctuary amidst the controversy over the government`s tiger
revival plan.

The minister said he had arrived at the conclusion
after talking to villagers and experts at the site. "It
(poisoning) clearly seems to be the gut feeling of most of the
people," he said.

The death of the male tiger, which happened to be
the first one to be relocated in Sariska in 2008, seems to
have been shrouded in mystery with the state forest officials
claiming that the post-mortem report has not detected any
unnatural substance.

However, they said that the decomposed body was
detected almost 72 hours after the death and some of the
vital organs like tongue were missing.

Taking responsibility for the "shocking" and
"disturbing" incident which has cast doubts over the tiger
translocation programme functioning, he said, "I placed my
faith in a lot of young officers who were posted here but they
clearly did not fulfill their responsibility."

Experts from Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of
India (WII), under whose supervision the translocation was
undertaken two years ago, also came under direct attack from
the minister who said that even when there were no radio
signals about the whereabouts of the tiger for the last two
weeks they slept over it.

"I placed my faith in the WII which is under my
ministry. They have also not come up to expectation either,"
he said indicating that more heads might roll in the wake of
the death of tiger.

"For two weeks there was no radio signal (from the
radio-collars of the tiger). They (officials) should have
alerted us. If radio signals were weak, we should have had GPS
(global positioning systems) but not radio monitoring," Ramesh

Rajasthan government yesterday suspended two officials
of Sariska reserve forest on the charge of dereliction of duty
which led to the death of a tiger there.


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