An eight year old lactating tigress was hit and killed by a vehicle in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve on May 19, 2010. The vehicle that hit the tigress to death was reportedly the vehicle of the Bandhavgarh Reserve itself.
Following the accident and the tragedy (for animal lovers at least) three officials of the Reserve including an assistant director and two rangers were suspended on May 25 as per the Director of the National Tiger Conservation Authority who reportedly refused to comment on who was responsible for the death and told that the enquiry was started.
The reason for the death of the poor mother who was attempting to cross the road and to reach to her three cubs in the early morning of the day of the tragedy was reportedly the accident by a speedy vehicle of the Reserve. The officials of the reserve are reported to say that the tigress was killed by a tourist vehicle. On the other hand the tourists say that it were the tourist vehicles that spotted the injured tigress and informed officials of the reserve. After information a vehicle of the Reserve was sent out to investigate and the tigress finally died after the vehicle carrying the officials reached there.
As per the media reports, two tourists blaming the officials of the Reserve say that they were harassed by them to put the blame on their driver but they refused to put false charge on their employee.
The reason of the death of the tigress as suggested by officials of the wildlife department and the authorities of the reserve are contradictory. Two of the reasons suggested by them are territorial fights and a wire injury. The post-mortem report has shown internal injuries caused by the impact of a hard, blunt object. The field director of the Reserve has told the media that he suspected collision with a tourist vehicle. Rumors have suggested the involvement of a relative of a Madhya Pradesh Minister. The Hindu reports –since the tigress was hit before the tourist vehicles arrived into the park before 6a.m., investigations are now focused around the officials of the Reserve. What ever the enquiry and whosoever is guilty, the tragedy involving the scene of the death of a lactating mother trying to reach to its three hungry cubs is strong enough to break the heart of a “living” animal lover, or the lover of humanity at least.
Key Words: Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, Tigress, vehicle, tourist, Madhya Pradesh Minister, post-mortem, injuries, lactating, cubs, territorial fight, blunt object, rumors