In just a span of a week, Maharashtra lost three big cats — a tiger and two leopards. While the tiger was found dead in the Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR) in Amravati District, one of the leopards was electroducted in Bhandara. On Friday Morning, another leopard was found run-over by a vehicle on the Nagpur-Amravati Highway.The number of tiger mortalities up to March 31 in Maharashtra was ten until the recovery of a dead tiger in MTR took it to eleven. The state forest department’s records indicate that the deaths of leopards for the same period stand at 41.In 2017, tiger and leopard mortality rates were 22 and 85, respectively, compared to 14 and 89 in 2016. This is significantly higher than 13 tiger and 66 leopard mortalities in 2015.Deputy conservator of forests (DCF) G Mallikarjuna said the leopard, which was aged around two years, was found dead early in the morning near Kondhali on the Nagpur- Amravati Highway. Incidentally, Bajirao, the dominant male of the Bor Tiger Reserve also died after being hit by a vehicle in December 2017 on the same highway.On Wednesday, forest officials recovered the body of a dead leopard aged around three years. DCF Vivek Hoshing said the leopard was suspected to have been died by electrocution. Its body parts were intact.In the MTR, the semi-putrefied body of a fully grown male tiger aged between eight and 10 years was found at the Dhakna range in the MTR’s core on Monday by forest guards. A senior official from the MTR said this was a natural death as there was no sign of cattle poisoning or water body poisoning on the periphery of the site. The body parts of the tiger were also found intact.
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