Sunday, June 26, 2016

The unfortunate death of T11

T11 with her cub from 2nd litter 
Jogi came back from the long meditation and returned to his beloved Ranthambhore, but sadly he was perturbed to hear about some tigress death and headed to meet Dharmendra Khandal – after some coaxing, Dharmendra narrated to Jogi about the incident…
On 25th a 12 year old tigress T11 was found dead, it is indeed a sad incident for Ranthambhore. Besides losing a female in the present scenario is also a significant loss for the park. T11 has gifted 7 tigers to the park through her 3 litters. She was a resilient tigress surviving in harsh landscapes and was mostly dwelling around Sawata - Bhid, she was special to us also because when the VWV started with their camera trapping exercise the first tiger captured was T11, and unfortunately it was them who informed the system about her death too.
She was found about 150 meters above ground on a steep hill, near a small water point called gular jherna. It was about 2-3 days past her death, and unlike other tigers in this situation her skin was still intact and so was the fur, she had no external injuries on her. There was a 40 feet long rock stretch from where she had slipped down before her death and there are claw marks on the rock which says she tried to hold herself before the final fall. The tip of the claws were all broken except for her front right ones – claws are usually very sharp, because they have important role while hunting. Also her one canine was chipped vertically and was shiny, which means it had come off recently.

She slipped 40 feet on this rock before the fatal fall
The site where she was found dead
The canine which was chipped vertically, looked like recently chipped
Broken Claw

The claw marking indicates that she tried to stop herself from falling
Intact body including the fur 
The rock on which her head collided and the same spot doctor said has a hematoma

The slop from where she fell

The Spot of her death in corridor area

As per the initial post-mortem there was a hematoma in her head at the site where the head hit the rock. Notably, there are also a sloth bear bone, fur and body parts in almost the same place, these must be a month ago – it is possible that T11 killed it.

On 22nd June, a VWV reported a tigress pugmark, however T11’s daughter also inhabits the same landscape so that is a possibility.
This was the incident scene, however there are 3-4 things to be noted:

1.  She had slipped alive and this is proven by the broken claws as she used them to stop herself.
2.  A cat slipping is a worst case scenario, this could be because of an old sickness, injury (although there was no external injury on T11), there was a fight with other tiger or sloth bear, but in this case she has no injury and there are no evidence of another tiger.
3 There is a delay of 2-3 days and its difficult to gather evidence in natural habitat – this place is situated in difficult terrain and thus tracking is not easy. 
4. Lastly, she could be chasing something speedily and fell, there is also a possibility of poisoning for this enough bodily materials were gathered and tests will be done.

Jogi read in the paper that the Forest department didn’t find out about her death etc, and smiled thinking that how many people are ignorant about the fact that the VWV is a team constituted by the forest department knowing that they are requiring assistance by village volunteers and this is their program and team that helped track tigers far and wide.

The tigress T11 was last spotted in a VWV camera on 6th June