MYSORE/ MADIKERI: The male tiger captured near Thithimati in Kodagu is severely injured and weak, said vets at Mysore Zoo, after it was shifted there. 

They began treatment on Saturday morning to try and stabilize its worsening condition. The injuries are believed to have been sustained during a territorial fight with another tiger, zoo director BP Ravi said.

The tiger is believed to be 14 years old, and is said to have killed five cattlehead in the recent past. It is suspected to have killed a cow on Saturday, hours before it was captured in Anechowkur range in Nagarahole tiger reserve. The animal was under mild sedation when it reached the zoo at 5am.

Preliminary medical examination also revealed that the tiger has a big wound in the middle of its face, with a worn-out upper lip. The wound is full of maggots, and the tiger is in a critical condition, he stated.

The tiger, which had created fear in Thithimati town, was trapped at 11.30pm Friday night. Unoj, a teenager who stepped out of her house to answer nature’s call, sighted the tiger sleeping in a bush. She tiptoed back to her house and informed the family.

Later, the forest department trapped the animal and carried it away in a cage. The operation was guided by Hunsur wildlife ACF K D Belliappa, Mathigodu forest range officer Devaraju and his team. The tiger may require a minimum of two months to recover, Dr Umashankar from Hunsur said.

Two months ago, a male tiger was captured at Hebballa near HD Kote and shifted to the zoo, and is now recovering. It has responded to treatment and is gaining weight. It appears that both tigers were driven out of their territories due to old age and pushed to the fringe areas to sustain themselves, Ravi said, adding the zoo has proposed a rescue and rehabilitation centre at Koorghalli to take care of rescued animals.

Tiger experts are trying to locate the 14-year-old tiger’s history in their database. “We may find more details in a couple of days,” a wildlife activist told STOI.