Monday, 30th October 2017

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Glare on snare process after trapped tiger loses tail

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By KINSUK BASU
  • Published 30.10.10
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Calcutta, Oct. 29: An injury in the tail of a tiger, trapped by the forest department and subsequent amputation of a portion of it has thrown up a question whether the way the animals are trapped now is flawless.

Forest officials said that this was for the first time in the past two and half decades that a Royal Bengal tiger’s tail had to be amputated in Bengal. “This episode has thrown up a question about the way tigers are trapped inside iron cages which is the practice,” said a forest official.

Forest officials said that the full-grown male tiger was trapped inside an iron cage on October 23 after villagers complained that the animal was straying into Sajnekhali in Canning area of South 24-Parganas.

“After the tiger was trapped inside the cage, doctors noticed that there was a deep cut in its tail. We believe that the iron door had come crashing down on its tail when the tiger had gone into the cage. So, it was evident that those who prepared the trap did not do it properly,” a forest official said.

An official of Sunderbans Tiger Reserve in Sajnekhali said that the cut on the tiger’s tail was stitched up and antibiotics and other medicines given.

“The tiger was then kept under observation for next three–four days,” the official added.

The employees of STR noticed a few days ago that the tiger was not keeping well and it was evident that it was in some form of pain.

During a thorough examination, the employees found that a portion of the tail was bleeding and doctors were called in.

“After examination, doctors informed us that the tiger had possibly chewed off the portion where stitches were given after it found it difficult to bear a persistent irritation. The doctors then found a vertebra (a small portion of the spinal column) in its tail had broken. The injury was very serious and beyond repair,” said P Vyas, director, Sunderban Biosphere Reserve. “It was then unanimously decided that the portion of the tail would be amputated.”

Last evening, the tiger was brought to the Alipore zoo hospital from Sajnekhali where veterinary surgeon, Swapan Ghosh, performed the surgery, amputating the tail at the injured end. The tiger has been now kept under observation at the hospital and experts said it would not be before at least another three weeks when the tiger would be fit to be released into the jungle once again.

The forest department is now reviewing this entire method of trapping tigers and probing whether the tiger’s injury was caused of inefficient handling of trapping the animal.

Explaining how a tiger is trapped, a forest official said that the door of the cage is lifted and fitted with a lever and a goat is tied inside. “When the tiger forces into the cage, there is a jerk and the lever becomes loose bringing the door down,” the official said.

“We are reviewing this entire process of trapping tigers in iron cages and find out ways to improve the system to prevent tigers from getting hurt in future. We are also investigating whether there are any other reasons behind the injury,” the official said.