Officials at the Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR) have rubbished rumours about big cat Prince, who was found dead on April 4, falling victim to poaching.
It was being rumoured in a section of the media and by some wildlife enthusiasts that Prince might have been killed by a 'meat bomb', usually used by poachers in Bannerghatta National Park to kill wild boar.
These wildlife enthusiasts cited the missing face' of the tiger, when it was found at Lokkere near Elachettu section of Kundakere range, as evidence to float the theory that the big cat had fallen victim to poachers.
But forest staff and wildlife experts who conducted the post-mortem said that the stomach of the beast was totally empty without any trace of food. "There was no meat in its stomach. It was very unfortunate that the mighty beast's stomach was filled with grass," said a forest staff on condition of anonymity.
T Heeralal, Conservator of Forests, BTR, said he was pained at such rumours. "It is true that the tiger was found without a portion of its head, but we are very sure it died due to starvation. The animal's face was missing, but it was not poached," he said.
Explaining about the missing face of the tiger, Heeralal said, "Some miscreants, who found the dead tiger, chopped off its jaw with a sharp weapon and had hid it as it has a high commercial value. But it is clear now, because we found the missing head as well as the sharp weapon used for the crime," he said.
However, to ensure that there was no mischief in the tiger's death, samples have been sent to Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad.