Post-Mortems - Page 1: Preparation | 2: Post-Mortem | 3: Disposal

Please Note:

This sequence of images show a post-mortem which was carried out on a juvenile Bengal tiger after it was apparently poisoned by local villagers. The images may be disturbing for some people and parental guidance is suggested for young children.

These very rare photographs are copyrighted to Tiger Territory and Aditya Singh; their copying and usage elsewhere is not permitted. The photographs displayed here are the only copies and so readily identifiable. Please do not request permission to display these images on your own Web site; due to the sensitive subject matter this will not be considered. You may, however, link to this Web page provided the source is very clearly identified on your own Web site. If you wish to post a banner one is available here. Thank you.


Tiger Territory is attempting to gain the full story of this post-mortem and the events surrounding it, however photography and release of details on this sort of occurrence are normally not permitted by Indian government agencies and so it may not be possible to get the official reports.

The correct name for the examination shown on these pages is a post-mortem or necropsy. "Post" simply means "after", while "mortem" means "death". Though people often refer to this procedure as an autopsy this term is only correct for humans, not animals. "Auto" means self; that is humans doing post-mortems on humans; this is why it is not applicable to animals.

The post-mortem examination has been in use for many thousands of years and is used mostly to establish a firm cause of death. In carrying it out medicine has discovered a great deal about how to detect and manage disease. Though some of these images may appear unsavoury, post-mortems can tell us a great deal and it is vital they are carried out on wild or captive tigers for which the cause of illness and death is uncertain.

In ideal conditions a dead animal would be examined within 48 hours of death and have been kept as cool as possible prior to the procedure. After that 48 hour window, or at a temperature higher than 21 degrees centigrade, decomposition is very rapid. India obviously does not provide ideal conditions for natural preservation of a carcass. Various scavengers, like vultures, will soon strip a dead animal and the high temperatures quickly destroy much useful evidence.

If this body were to be kept, it would be stored at below 15.5 degrees centigrade, but would probably not be frozen unless all needed tissue samples had already been taken. When tissues freeze ice crystals cause such immense damage that usually becomes impossible to make a diagnosis using microscopic examination.

Post-Mortems - Page 1: Preparation | 2: Post-Mortem | 3: Disposal

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Photography With Thanks To Aditya Singh
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