Foul play suspected as tigers killed, missing in Kagaznagar division

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Express News Service

ADILABAD: In the past week, two tigers were reported dead and two others missing and suspected dead from the Kagaznagar division in the Kumurambheem Asifabad district. While officials maintain that the complete details will be revealed in due time, the preliminary probe shows that foul play led to the deaths of the big cats.

On Monday, the carcass of a tiger, identified as a male aged about 5–6 years, was discovered in the Daregaon forest area. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) RM Dobriyal, PCCF (Wildlife) MC Paragein, and a team from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) along with veterinary doctors from Hyderabad visited the site.

The tiger was discovered dead near a local stream with snares around its head and neck. The preliminary investigation indicated a suspected case of poisoning. Samples have been sent to the forensics lab for further analysis. The disposal of the tiger’s body was carried out under NTCA norms, and nearby cattle, suspected to have been involved in the poisoning, were also disposed of.

Local authorities have intensified efforts to nab the culprit. Based on a complaint, a case was registered at the Kagaznagar police station. Additionally, a one-and-a-half-year-old female tiger died on January 6, reportedly due to territorial conflict. Another injured tiger, involved in the same incident, remains untraceable. Teams have been appointed to monitor its pugmarks in Malini, Sarkapelli, Daregaon, and other adjoining forest areas.

Foresters blamed

According to sources, Daregaon residents had informed forest officials about increased tiger movement and cattle killings. However, the forest staff were allegedly apathetic to their concerns and didn’t monitor the tiger’s movements. Meanwhile, some others have alleged that the tigers were killed due to initiatives by the forest department to ward them off from residential areas.

They added that a few ranger-level officers were accused of neglecting their duties, with beat and section officers alleging that the former put undue pressure on them during inspections. Some others were implicated in teak wood smuggling, allegedly with the support of local leaders and smugglers.

Internal inquiries within the forest department revealed support for teakwood smugglers among departmental staff, neglect over the identification of poaching activity in villages, and failure to file bind-over cases in recent years. Additionally, some staff members were reportedly involved in carrying out contractual work without following the proper tender norms.

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