A tigress was shot dead on November 14 by the Uttarakhand forest department after it strayed away into a marketplace. The wild cat was allegedly shot by a service rifle.
The tigress strayed away from the wild into the Marchula area in the Kalagarh division of the Corbett Tiger Reserve. She was said to be aged between 10-12 years.
The incident came to light after a video surfaced on social media platforms showing a scared tigress taking shelter behind a house while gunshots were being fired.
A press statement issued by the Corbett Tiger Reserve said forester Mohan Chandra Bhatt had fired nine rounds into the air to scare the tigress off.
“However, she got more violent. It was then that forest guard Dheeraj Kumar fired two rounds on the ground. He could not fire into the air as a huge crowd had gathered on the rooftops. The wild cat was hit in its hind legs by one round,” the statement said.
The tigress was later found dead. According to the latest reports, Kumar has been booked under Wildlife Conservation Act.
Chief Wildlife Warden of the forest department Samir Sinha said that a probe has been set up and a full detailed report will be submitted to the director of Corbett Dheeraj Pandey within 48 hours.
Meanwhile, postmortem reports suggest that the tigress died of excessive bleeding due to the bullet injury. It also mentions a porcupine quill found in the animal’s liver which had damaged the organ.
“The stomach and intestine of the animal were empty and the lungs were also damaged,” the autopsy added.
A senior forest official said that no efforts were made to tranquilise the tigress. “The tigress was shot dead by the forest team, using a service rifle. No efforts were made to tranquilise it. Nor were other techniques adopted, as can be seen in the videos that have surfaced. All this when the staff was alerted about the big cat’s repeated sightings in the last three days,” TOI quoted the senior forest official.
The viral video resulted in a huge outcry from animal lovers and activists who questioned why the forest department did not tranquillise the animal.