Two big cats die of suspected overdose of tranquiliser. Are veterinarians to be blamed?

Two big cats die of suspected overdose of tranquiliser. Are veterinarians to be blamed?

Submitted by Rashmi on Tue, 2017-01-17 18:58 Bengaluru: Poaching and man-animal conflict have been the biggest worries for the forest department in big cats’ conservation. But who will take the responsibility if the big cats are killed due to an overdose of tranquiliser?On January 12 and 17, two tigers were killed allegedly due to overdose of tranquiliser. This has sparked a debate over the efficiency of the veterinary doctors and the way tranquilisation mission is carried out in the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.After villagers in Magge village near Nagarahole in Antharasanthe range complained of big cat prowling on their cattle, the forest department officials decided to tranquilise the big cat and shift it to Bannerghatta Biological Park. However, the eight-year-old big cat died on the spot on January 17.According to sources, the department staff which got into action on Monday night took several hours to tranquilise the big cat. Forest personnel Karumbaiah was able to tranquilise it around 12.30 am. Sources said that veterinarian Umashankar guided the tranquilisation process. Karumbaiah is said to have shot the dart at least seven times at the animal."They could have waited for some time until the animal went unconscious. It appears they hurried up in the entire process," informed a source. Though the department claims that the animal died when it reached Bannerghatta Biological Park, sources claimed that the animal died near Mandya. This female tiger was seen regularly with her three cubs in Nagrhole.In another incident on January 12, 2017, a seven-year- old male injured tiger was killed by suspected over dose of tranquiliser. The feline which was found ailing with severe injury perhaps due to territorial fights was tranquilised and died while being shifted to the Bannerghatta Biological Park."There was a team of veterinarians including Bannerghatta park Doctor Dr Nagraj and veterinarians Dr Manjunath and Dr Shantanu Kalambi from Wildlife Trust of India on the spot. The animal was darted by Akram, twice," informed sources here.To add to the woes of the forest department, the department had initially planned to take the tranquilised animals to the Mysore zoo. However, the authorities who have quarantined the animals here due to bird flu outbreak suggested them not to do so. With no other options, the authorities decided to take the big cats to the Bannerghatta park.According to the experts, the animals should be administered antidotes immediately after it was tranquilised. However, in both cases doubts are being raised whether the antidotes were administered on big cats."It all appears to be done in a hurry to grab the credit for themselves," said an expert on condition of anonymity.It may be recalled here that a six-month-old tiger cub had died due to overdose of tranquilisation near Metikuppe in 2014.​