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5 mars 2013 2 05 /03 /mars /2013 08:19

Des tigres des mangroves Sundarbans présentent une faiblesse anormale au niveau de leurs pattes postérieures. Manque de proies, braconnage excessif, autre(s) facteur(s)? Times of India, ce jour.Voir aussi l'actualisation détaillée du Times of India du 6 Mars.


Sunderbans mystery: Tigers getting weaker?
Experts are worried about weak hind legs of tigers in the Sunderbans.


5 Mars . KOLKATA: A tigress was captured in the Sunderbans on Monday evening after foresters found some abnormality in its movement.

Confirming the news, Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve director Pradeep Shukla said that the doctors would observe the big cat, caged near Sajnekhali, on Tuesday. Members of National Tiger Conservation Authority's (NTCA) schedule I animal handling committee will also visit the spot.

Sunderbans Tiger Reserve (STR) field director Soumitra Dasgupta said the tigress, aged around four years, has a weak hind portion. "We will be able to confirm the future course of action only on Tuesday after the vets check it properly. It has been kept near Sajnekhali," he said.

In July last year, a tiger was captured in the mangroves with weak hind legs. The tiger, aged around eight years and still undergoing treatment at the zoo, was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Shukla said that possibility of injuries from the breathing roots cannot be ruled out.

However, experts have always sounded alarm on low prey density and human pressure on the forests as probable reasons behind frequent straying of tigers out of the jungles. A recent study by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has pegged very low prey density in Sajnekhali and west range of STR.

"Weak hind legs point to less availability of prey in the forests. Recent cases of deer poaching only bring to front the fact that how low prey density is plaguing the Sunderbans tigers. This may be one of the reasons behind the weak hind portion of the tigers. Possibility of an injury while hunting can't be ruled out either," said an expert.


Times of Indi, 6 mars.

SAJNEKHALI (SUNDERBANS): Something is wrong in the Sunderbans. In the dense, mysterious mangroves where few dare to tread, something is sucking the life force out of the magnificent Sunderbans tiger. For the third time in three years, a young tigress has been found tottering on weak hind legs.

The three-year-old tigress caught on Monday near Pirkhali-I island should have been at the peak of her prime. Just stepping into adulthood, you would expect it to be a bundle of sinews with lightning sharp reflexes. But this tigress could not even crawl to the tethered goat offered as bait. While its ideal weight should have been 100kg, the famished tigress weighed a mere 75kg.

If only one such big cat had been found in the Sunderbans, it would be a cause of alarm in itself. But three triggered some sort of a panic. Wildlife officials are desperate to find out what is ailing the tigers - it if is malnutrition or a disease. If it's a disease, experts have to find out how it is communicated because tigers are loners. Is it the environment? That would cause serious concern because the Sunderbans tiger has adapted itself to thrive in the brutal, saline ecosystem.

Of the six tigers captured from the Sunderbans in the last three years for treatment, at least three of them have a weak posterior, say sources. All three are young adults. A tiger, captured last July, was recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis and is being treated at Alipore zoo. A tigress, caught in the forests of Netidhopani in October 2011, is also under treatment at Alipore zoo for weak hind legs. The tigress trapped on Monday night has alarming signs of starvation.

A three-member panel of veterinarians - D N Banerjee from Alipore zoo, Utpalendu Mondal, resident vet of Sunderbans Tiger Reserve (STR), and Gosaba block livestock development officer (BLDO) Bidyut Majhi - are monitoring the tigress. They said it would be kept under observation at the Sajnekhali beat office for five days.

Based on the clinical observation so far, some injections, mostly nerve stimulants, have been prescribed for the tigress, said Banerjee. "It had a weak posterior and its temperature was slightly high. It will be administered two bottles of saline once a day for the next three days. Five to six kg of chicken will be its regular diet for the next five days," he said, adding that decision on blood tests to determine the impact of starvation will be taken next week.

The foresters spotted the tigress on Saturday near the forests of Pirkhali-I and noticed some abnormality in its movement. "On Sunday, we placed a trap cage with a goat as live bait close to the sweet-water pond. But to our dismay, the tigress could not move in spite of getting an easy prey. It finally had a go at the goat on Monday night and we managed to trap it," said a forest department official.

Joydip Kundu, a member of the National Tiger Conservation Authority Schedule-I animal handling committee, visited the spot on Tuesday and said that the tigress might have some internal injuries. "Otherwise how can a big cat, which has just attained adulthood, not even stand properly? It's definitely not in a position to go back to the wild now, and all its treatment should be arranged in the mangroves rather than shifting it to Alipore zoo," he said. Echoing his view, another member of the committee, Anurag Danda, said that they have asked the department to find out a way of getting the animal X-rayed without shifting it to the city zoo.

Wildlife Institute of India's Y V Jhala had earlier called for a study to check whether any disease outbreak was behind the repeated tiger strayings in the Sunderbans. For instance, in 2009-10, there were reports of frequent straying of Siberian tigers into Russian villages and towns. It was later found that the big cats were infected with canine distemper, a viral infection. However, Dr Banerjee said that as of now, the tigress doesn't have any symptoms of canine or feline distemper. "We will definitely run some tests in the days ahead to find out what's ailing the tigress," he added.

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