Tragic End for Rare Black Tiger: Suspected Infighting Leaves Simlipal National Park in Mourning

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A rare black tiger (pseudo-melanistic) was found dead in the Similipal National Park in Odisha, India, and it is suspected that the death was due to infighting. The dead tiger has been identified as T27, a male aged about 3.5 years.

The Similipal South Division staff at Badamakkabadi ll area, Nawana South range,detected the death of the tiger on the morning of April 30. The breeding of tigers in the region will be affected by the death of a male tiger, as the population of black tigers in Similipal is very limited, according to Biswajit Mohanty, a former member of the National Wildlife Board.

The carcass of the melanistic male big cat was found on May 1, 2023, in the core areas of the reserve. The forest officials stated that the black tiger died due to a territorial dispute with another male. The state’s principal chief conservator of forests, Sushil Kumar Popli, said that the injury marks on the carcass indicate it might have died while fighting with another big cat inside the sanctuary area.

The news of the death was intimated to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). Samples of the body will be sent for analysis to the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

The field director of Similipal Tiger Reserve says that the preliminary cause of death is suspected to be infighting between two males. The post-mortem was conducted in the presence of representatives of NTCA, Joint Task Force (JTF) members, the Field Director, DD Similipal, veterinary doctors, and other staff.

After the post-mortem, the carcass was burned to ashes. The Similipal Tiger Reserve is the only place in the world where rare black tigers are found, as it is their home.

With a gene mutation, Bengal tigers have a distinctive dark stripe pattern and are only found in the region. The reserve had last reported 8 tigers, according to the Tiger Status Report 2018.

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