A deadly encounter in India has sparked a government investigation into what killed one of the country's most endangered animals.
When humans and animals fight for territory, it's often the animals that lose. This conflict is highlighted in a new video that shows a tiger being possibly crushed by a large excavator.
The tiger was caught in the Ramnagar Forest, where it may have strayed from the Corbett Tiger Reserve, which lies at the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India.
The Times of India reported that the tiger had killed two people the day before in the town of Bailpadav. The tiger had allegedly been tranquilized before faltering under the weight of the excavator's arm. This could account for why the big cat seemed to have difficulty escaping the slow moving machinery.
The animal was later taken to nearby Nainital zoo where a post-mortem report lists the causes of death as asphyxiation, injuries inflicted from territorial disputes with other tigers, and septicaemia (blood poisoning).
A report from the Hindustan Times claimed that the tiger broke its tooth on the machine, causing it to choke on blood.
In response, the state has formed a four-person team, comprised of a forest official, a veterinarian, and two wildlife experts, to investigate the tiger's death and the use of large machinery in corralling such animals.
A 2011 study performed in part with the World Wildlife Fund in India found that the Corbett Tiger Reserve has the highest density of wild tigers in India, and by default, likely the world. This population density makes it more plausible that the tiger sustained injuries during a territorial battle; however, the timing of its death, hours after being crushed by a steel scoop, had led to outrage online.
Population counts from 2015 estimated the wild tiger population to be 2,226, but an estimated 50,000 to 80,000 once roamed India. In the Terai region of India, which contains the Corbett Tiger Reserve, populations have increased. At least 79 adults were counted in the park last year.
You can watch the video there. It's not really disturbing, because you cannot see that much.