Thursday, October 6, 2011

Zoo Guard Kills Tiger For Its Whiskers

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Working security at a preserve for big cats might seem like a pretty cushy job, considering how well-equipped the animals are in defending themselves against anyone or anything that may wish to harm them. But the danger to these endangered Bengal tigers was to come from within.

According to officials, a 48-year-old guard charged with protecting a group of endangered Bengal tigers poisoned an adult female to death before removing several of her body parts, including the whiskers which he somehow believed would enhance his sexual prowess.

The disturbing news surfaced in Chhattisgarh, central India, at a time when local authorities are diligently protecting big cats from extinction, mainly due to poachers.

The Malaysian Sun Daily reports that the security guard admitted to authorities that he killed the six-year-old tigress, whose body was found mutilated last week at a sanctuary in Chhattisgarh, central India. After being arrested, the guard told authorities that he removed the cat's claws, teeth, and whiskers, because he believes them to have magical medicinal properties.

The article went to say that a forest officer stated the guard believed the whiskers of the big cat species have medicinal value to enhance male sexual power; and, certain body parts of the feline help their possessor gain mystical powers.

Unfortunately, the guard's cruelty and misguidedness couldn't have come at a worse time for Bengal tigers. The big cats, native to India, are one of the most rapidly declining species on the planet; wildlife experts say there are only around 1,700 of the tigers left in existence -- and the future doesn't look promising. Threats from human activities, such as encroaching development in tiger habitats and poaching, continue to push tigers to the brink of extinction.

And evidently, not even the guards hired to protect them can be trusted.

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