Carcass found in Debrigarh belonged to leopard
Bargarh: A day after reports about the decomposed carcass of a Royal Bengal Tiger being recovered from the Damodarpada jungle of Debrigarh sanctuary near Khajuria village in this district, forest officials conducted an autopsy and set it afire Monday.
Forest & Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray Monday clarified that it was a leopard's carcass.
"Initial reports of the expert team suggested that the carcass recovered from the Debrigarh forest is that of a leopard. The leopard was buried there after its death," Routray said.
The exact reason for the death can be ascertained only after getting reports from the forensic lab, Routray added.
"Officials collected the remains of the animal and sent it to the Wildlife Institute in Dehradun and the Bangalore National Tiger Conservation Authority," Bargarh Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Abhay Kumar Dalei said, adding that a team led by Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Madanlal Sharma was set up to probe the incident.
Necessary steps will be taken after the report is submitted by the team, DFO Dalei said.
Earlier, PCCF Wildlife Sandeep Tripathy also clarified saying, "The DFO of Debrigarh who was asked to make a spot visit has informed that it is a two to three week-old leopard carcass."
The carcass recovered from the jungle Sunday was initially suspected to be that of a Royal Bengal Tiger. Villagers said the animal was killed by poachers or the timber mafia who buried the carcass deep in the forest after extracting its teeth and nails.
Prima facie, the decomposed carcass indicated that poachers had removed its nails and teeth and its head was found detached from the body. It is suspected that the poachers might have killed the animal a week ago and buried it.
Villagers said the mafia was unable to pass through the jungle to smuggle wood as they feared the animal. Hence, the finger of suspicion points towards the mafia who might have eliminated the animal.