A tiger was found dead in Kunthakere range of Bandipur Tiger Reserve on Thursday. The authorities have ruled out foul play.

The tiger’s death comes at a time when volunteers and the Forest Department staff are engaged in an exercise to enumerate the number of big cats in the wild.

H.C. Kantharaju, director, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, told The Hindu that the tiger was a sub-adult in the seven to nine age group and prima facie it appeared to be a death due to natural causes. “The claws are intact and so is the skin and hence poaching is ruled out,” Mr. Kantharaj said.

The tiger was found dead in Arekaduvinahalli, a water body and its flesh had putrefied making it difficult to ascertain whether it was a male or a female. D. Rajkumar, who is representing the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), said the animal was laying on its flanks when it died but there was no flesh though the bones, claws and skin were intact. It is suspected that the tiger may have died almost a week ago.

Ruling out the possibility of poisoning, he said the death took place deep inside the forests where there was no human habitation close by and there was also the carcass of a gaur which the tiger had hunted and partially eaten before it died. A report would be sent to NTCA, he added.

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