A well-meaning intervention for tiger conservation appears to have turned futile as T-5, the tigress popularly known by the name ‘Kachida female,' was found dead in the Ranthambhore National Park on Wednesday.
T-5, a much written about animal after Rajasthan Tourism Minister Bina Kak got a wound in its body cleared of maggots last week during a visit to the park, appears to have died on Tuesday. The forest staff are now trying to locate two of its two/three-month-old cubs.
Rajasthan Minister for Forests and Environment Ramlal Jat has attributed the death to natural causes. After making preliminary enquiries, he has despatched a team to Ranthambhore to probe the matter.
It is obvious that “natural death” in this case means that the tigress was not poached or killed by humans. All the other reasons, including diseases and infections, could be termed natural by some logic.
The carcass of the tigress, aged around seven, was found in the Kachida area on Wednesday morning, though the death seemingly took place some 18 hours earlier.
“I am feeling very sad. They never told me about it being unwell or anything like that. I had told the officials to keep a round-the-clock watch on the tigress and its cubs. But now it appears that they kept misleading me about sighting it even when they had no trace of it,” said a visibly shocked Ms. Kak, who had extended her stay in Sawai Madhopur to oversee the treatment of the animal.
“Maybe the maggots had already entered the internal parts of the animal. Or it could be that the wound got further aggravated. The animal was often found sitting in the water after her treatment,” Ms. Kak observed.
“Even when the cubs were not seen with the mother it was not reported by the park staff. Then the tourist vehicles were also allowed in that area though I had warned them against any disturbance to this tiger family for some time,” she noted. “I am sad, but I have no regrets as I did what I should have.”