It was a rescue that came too late. For almost two years, a tigress in Maharashtra’s Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary had been carrying a wire noose around her neck. When the tigress was spotted on March 17 this year, her injury had worsened and maggots had collected around the wound. The animal was so weak she was barely able to move. She died just hours after she was tranquilized by forest officials in a bid to save her.
Barely a month later, another young tigress was found dead — her neck held tight by the coils of a wire snare — in the nearby Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). And recently, a two-year male tiger was injured after his front paw got trapped in a snare at the Tipeshwar sanctuary.
Every year, tigers and leopards in India are being killed and injured by snares, a threat that doesn’t register when one lists dangers faced by big cats. But in the last nine years, 24 tigers and over 100 leopards in the country’s forests have suffered slow, agonising deaths in these traps.