Guwahati, Sept. 19: A Royal Bengal tiger died at the Kaziranga National Park last night of suspected poisoning, a new technique adopted by poachers at the world heritage site.
A male elephant, which migrated from Kaziranga, was also shot dead by poachers in an area between Panbari and Dolamara reserve forest in Karbi Anglong. The tusks were missing.
The carcass of the full-grown male tiger was found at Mohpora, on the fringes of the park near the Kohora range, by forest guards this morning.
Park officials said at least 10 cattle had died in the area within a week because of poisoning of grass by suspected poachers. “The tiger may have eaten one of the dead cattle,” a park official said.
Eight Royal Bengal tigers have died in Kaziranga this year. Kaziranga authorities claim that most of these died of infighting but few died because of poisoning.
The park official said no injury marks were found on the tiger apart from a broken bone on the rib cage. “But this could not be the cause of death since the bone has almost calcified. We suspect it died of poisoning,” the official said.
He said the exact cause of death would be confirmed only after post-mortem. A team of doctors from the College of Veterinary Science here and members of Wildlife Crime Bureau have rushed to Kaziranga.
On the other hand, bullet injuries were found on the carcass of the full-grown elephant, killed about two days ago.
Arup Ballab Goswami, a wildlife expert from Golaghat district, said although killing of tuskers was rampant in Karbi Anglong, the cases are rarely reported. “This is a major reason for the decrease in the tusker population at Kaziranga,” he said.