Questions on Debrigarh Royal Bengal Tiger carcass remain partially answered

Bargarh: With mystery shrouding the case of recovery of a decomposed animal carcass in Damodarpada forest under Bhatli Forest Range, Bargarh Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Abhay Kumar Dalai today made things close to clear when he revealed that the arrested persons confessed to having killed a Royal Bengal Tiger.

The DFO further stating that the carcass is being suspected to be of a Royal Bengal Tiger is in contrary to the claims made by PCCF chief and Odisha forest minister Bijayshree Routray earlier that the carcass recovered on October 28 was of a leopard.

While the Forest department arrested three persons on Saturday in connection with the ‘poaching’, another person was arrested today.

This apart, samples from the carcass have been sent to the Wildlife Institute in Dehradun and National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bengaluru for examination, official sources said.

“After conducting a raid, we detained a few suspects for interrogation. Four persons have been arrested so far in this connection. The carcass may be of a Royal Bengal Tiger but the report of Wildlife Institute of India (Dehradun) and National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bengaluru will be considered as the final report.”

The official further maintained that the animal’s paws, nails and whisker seized suggest of being that of a Royal Bengal Tiger.

It may be mentioned here that after a preliminary probe on October 31, the DFO had suspended two forest officials including Kamagaon forester Parsuram Behera and forest guard of Hajuripada, Prabhasini Mahanand for dereliction of duty.

While forest minister Routray had clearly denied initial reports which claimed it a tiger’s carcass, it remains to be seen what the actual forensic reports reveal.