Wounded Sundarbans tiger under treatment in Kolkata zoo

February 23rd, 2008 - 5:31 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, Feb 23 (IANS) The West Bengal forest department has hired a team of veterinary doctors to treat a wounded tiger captured from a village outside Sundarbans, one of the biggest tiger habitats in the country. The big male tiger that has suffered multiple injuries and caught an infection, is not out of danger, doctors said. It has a missing left hind claw.

The tiger, which had strayed into the village in search of food and left pugmarks leading to his capture, was brought to the Alipore Zoological Garden hospital here late Friday night for treatment.

Doctors attending to it said the tiger has multiple wounds, including a bad cut wound in the left hind foot, and releasing it in the wild in the near future was impossible. Vets could not say if the missing claw of the tiger could be from a fight with a crocodile. “It seems the left hind claw was cut off,” Gopal Samanta said.

“Besides the missing claw, the tiger has 10 other wounds. It can take one to one-and-a-half months to heal. Whether the tiger will recover at all can be said only seven to eight days later,” Samanta said.

A three-member team of vets is treating the 10-year-old tiger.

A day after its capture, the tiger looked listless and dazed Saturday.

On Friday morning, the tiger was captured with a goat as a bait from Jharkhali area of outer Sundarbans in South 24 Parganas district, nearly 120 km from Kolkata.

According to experts, a Sundarbans tiger generally strays out of the forest when hunting becomes difficult because of old age or injury. Sometimes, it loses its way.

The Sundarbans, which comprises nearly 10,000 sq km of marshlands and mangrove forests along the coast of the Bay of Bengal, is one of the last natural tiger habitats.

A pregnant tigress was captured Feb 18 and then released into the wild after she strayed into a South 24 Parganas village.

While the latest tiger census did not cover the Sundarbans, forest officials said there were 249 tigers in the Sundarban Tiger Reserve and 279 in greater Sundarbans when the census was last conducted in 2001-02.

But the number, based on pugmarks of individual tigers, was contested by an analysis of the same pugmarks by the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI).

ISI experts said in July 2006 there were only 75 tigers in the Sundarbans after the analysis with the help of new software. The forest department was quick to rubbish the figure and the software.

According to the latest tiger census released by the government last week, the total number of tigers across the country stands at 1,411, a dramatic fall from 3,642 in the 2001-02 census.

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