Trapped tigress has radio collar injury, to be tested for canine distemper

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Pilibhit, Jan 24 (IANS) The two-year-old tigress, who was rescued from the boundary wall of a farmhouse in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit and released in the wild, returned to the urban area and was trapped in a forest department cage two days ago.

The veterinary team has now discovered a 0.5 cm deep wound on her throat region caused by the satellite radio collar. The satellite radio collar was dropped by the PTR authorities from the neck of the tigress in the cage.

Following the instructions of Uttar Pradesh’s chief wildlife warden Anjani Kumar Acharya, a wildlife veterinary expert from the Bareilly-based Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Dr AM Pawde, examined the feline at the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) headquarters.

Pawde, noting the stress induced by the trapping, advised waiting before collecting blood samples for canine distemper (CD) testing until the tigress’s health had regained normalcy.

The canine distemper test had been conducted twice at IVRI when the tigress was initially rescued on December 26 from a farmhouse boundary wall in Atkona village in Pilibhit district. The results were negative for infection, but Acharya insisted on retesting for confirmation.

To collect blood samples, big cats are shifted from trapping cages to ‘squeeze cages’. However, due to the tigress’s stressed state, Pawde vetoed this process.

Addressing the radio collar wound, Dr Qamar Quraishi, head of the tiger cell at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), explained, “Such wounds result from the friction of tight or loose radio collars. Throat injuries caused by collar friction during predation are common.”

He added that treating these wounds after relocating the feline to a zoo is not advisable, as they tend to heal naturally.

Meanwhile, PTR’s field director Vijay Singh said that aside from the throat injury, the tigress appeared normal in health and behaviour. She consumed the live bait in the cage after her trapping and was provided with 1.5 litres of chicken soup for protection against the cold weather. The decision on her relocation will depend on the canine distemper test report, Singh added.



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