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No human DNA in scat sample of man-eater

Mysore, Dec 23, 2013, DHNS: 0:59 IST
Shiva, the man-eater, at the Mysore zoo.
An analysis of the scat (faecal) samples of the tiger, which is believed to have mauled three persons to death in H D Kote taluk recently, did not show the presence of human DNA, according to a report by the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore.

But H C Kantharaju, Chief Conservator of Forests and Director of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, said that despite the absence of human DNA in the scat sample, there was little doubt that it was not the same tiger which took three human lives.

“If it were a different tiger, more human deaths would have been reported,” he said. “But no such incidents have taken place even three weeks after the tiger was captured.”
Kantharaju further said that human DNA might not have been found in the scat sample as the two porcupine quills had pierced the tiger’s body and prevented him from eating properly.

Circumstantial evidence

Vinay Luthra, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), said that circumstantial evidence such as pug marks and the tiger being captured close to the villages where the deaths occurred indicated that the animal was behind the three deaths. “It may be possible that the tiger accidentally killed humans while hunting for cattle but did not eat human flesh,” he said.

It may be recalled that Basavaraju, a resident of Nadahaadi village, was killed on November 27. Two days later, Cheluva of Seegevadihaadi village became the tiger’s victim. Basappa of Chikkabaragi was mauled to death on December 3. The tiger was captured on December 5 and shifted to Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, Mysore.

Its scat samples were sent to the NCBS and the Centre for Cellular Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, for an analysis of human DNA in the faecal matter. The results of CCMB are awaited.

Keeping in mind the panic among the local people following the tiger attacks, a cage has been kept as a precautionary measure near Chikkabaragi village, according to Kantharaju.

Meanwhile, the captured tiger, which had injuries on his body, was recovering, said B P Ravi, Executive Director of Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens. “Once the tiger recovers fully, a decision on shifting it out of the zoo will be taken in consultation with higher authorities,” he said.

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