Wounded tiger dies in Van Vihar

A leopard too shot dead in Panna district, hunter arrested A wounded tiger, said to have been shot by poachers at Uchera in the Panna-Satna forest belt earlier this week, died in Van Vihar National Park here over the weekend. A leopard was also shot dead by wildlife hunters near Panna on Saturday. Panna National Park Director G. Krishnamurthy told The Hindu on Saturday evening that the leopard was shot by a villager in the territorial forest of South Panna division bordering Damoh district. The villager who allegedly shot the leopard has been arrested and the Chhattarpur Conservator of Forest has rushed to the spot for investigation. Following the death of the Uchera tiger, the State Forest Department's wildlife wing has decided to stuff its skin and keep it as a stuffed tiger in its original form in Van Vihar Narional Park for educational purpose. Educating people Van Vihar Assistant Director A.K. Khare said the idea was to indicate the bullet wounds inflicted by poachers and show the people how the tigers are facing the threat of extinction. He said the wounded tiger was located in the contiguous forest of the Kalda Pahad in Panna district and the Parasmania Pathar (plateau) of Satna district. Mr. Chandra Shekhar Dube of Care for the Wild said it would be difficult to conclude at this stage whether the tiger's habitat also included some area of the Panna National Park. The tiger was skinned on Saturday and its skeletal remains were taken out for investigation and stuffing purpose. Its remaining body parts were burnt in the presence of the Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Ashok Bhatia, Van Vihar personnel and media persons here on Saturday evening. On being found injured, it was tranquillised, operated upon and brought to the Van Vihar National Park by the Panna National Park authorities. When contacted, CREW (Crusade for Revivial of Environment and Wildlife) chairman R.P. Sharma said: "The entire episode is a grim warning how the tigers are threatened in Madhya Pradesh.' Alarming level He said the latest estimation of the tiger population by the Wildlife Institute of India and the Union Government's Tiger Conservation Authority shows that the tiger population has dwindled to alarming levels in the State. The death of the Uchera tiger should be treated as one of the last nails in the tiger's coffin, he added.