A tiger was found dead by forest officials in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala on Tuesday. A farmer had spotted the big cat, that reportedly looked very sick and injured at the time, near a police camp in Injipoyka in the evening. However, when the forest officials reached the animal a couple of hours later around 9 pm, the tiger had died.
According to reports, the tiger was wounded, and the wounds were infected with worms. Officials have said that samples were collected from the carcass to send to Rajaji Tiger Reserve to find out the exact cause of death.
The post-mortem of the animal was done on Wednesday and revealed that the tiger was affected with pneumonia. Porcupine quills were also found to have punctured the lungs of the big cat, which could have caused the infection, officials said. It is not known precisely how that may have happened.
"We can just reveal that it was a female tiger. Cause of death and other doubts can be clarified only after proper investigation," Harikrishnan, Assistant Conservator of Forests, Ranni, told the media.
Forest officials suspect that this could be the same tiger that has given residents of Thannithode gram panchayat, which is 23 kilometres from Pathanamthitta, sleepless nights for the last one and half month. However, to confirm the same, the officials will have to check the route that the animal travelled before getting sick. The officials said that a proper investigation is required to ascertain if it is the same tiger.
On May 6, a tiger had attacked and killed a 38-year-old rubber tapper Bineesh Mathew. Since then, many had spotted the tiger near their plantations. A team of hunters, forest officials, veterinarians were in search of the big cat since May. The officials even brought Kumki elephants (captive elephants trained to trap wild elephants) to catch the tiger. A special rapid response team from Wayanad had also joined the search.
While forest officials are unsure if the deceased wild cat is the one involved in the above cases, local residents expressed relief, with many of them believing it is the same tiger.