Man-eating tiger on the prowl?

Man-eating tiger on the prowl?

Incidents of tigers and leopards attacking cattle and dogs is not new on the fringes of forests. However, attacks on humans have been very rare in areas neighbouring the Bandipur and Nagarhole Forest reserves.

The attack on the tribal woman, Mahadevamma, has raised the question of whether the tiger has turned into a man-eater. According to wildlife experts, it is too early to indicate if the tiger would continue to hunt humans.

According to wildlife film maker Krupakar occurrences of a tiger turning into a man-eater is rare in the southern part of the country. However, the situation is different in north India as incessant hunting had led to taking away the prey of the wild cat and also injuring it.
Due to this, tigers would often hunt humans, which were an easy prey. Krupakar said a conclusion can be drawn only after experts assess the situation at the place of incidence.

Attack on humans

Wildlife enthusiast Nitin Ranga told this newspaper that several tigers can be spotted on the fringes of the forest. But, they never attack people. Tigers begin with attacking domesticated animals.

Probability of the tiger continuing to attack humans for food can also not be ruled out as they are easier prey as compared to animals.

According to sources, three similar incidents have been reported in the fringes of forests in Nagarhole and Bandipur reserve forests.

However, recurrences of such incidents were not found in any of these areas indicating that one attack is not sufficient to know if the tiger has turned into a man-eater.

The first attack is said to have occurred in Mudumalai forest reserve about 15 years back near Gopalswamy Hill, when people used to move around the fringes of forest. A tiger was said to be perched on a hill and a man walking, who didn’t notice the wild cat, was mauled by the tiger.

Another incident, occurred near Srimangala about five years back, when a tribal youth was dragged for half-a-kilometre and a tiger preyed on a part of his flesh.

The third incident happened two years back near Gundlupet-Calicut road on the fringes of Bandipur forest reserve. The youth had strayed into the forest to collect firewood, when he was attacked by a tiger.

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