Experts suspect tigress behind Maddur colony attack

Experts suspect tigress behind Maddur colony attack

Details of incident sketchy, three machetes found at the spot

Though details on the death of a Soliga tribal in a tiger attack appears to be sketchy, some wildlife experts have found striking similarities in the recent attack and other tiger attacks in the recent years.

While five deaths have been reported in the region during the past month, they feel that such incidents are only ‘random’ and has no direct relation to the population of tigers at Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

Wildlife filmmakers, B S Krupakar and Senani Hegde, speaking with Deccan Herald, recalled similar incidents, where tigresses have either mauled persons or threatened to attack them, to protect their cubs.

In 1990, a television crew working on a documentary was a whisker away from being mauled by a female tigress, when the crew unknowingly ventured close to its cubs. The team had a lucky escape, as the tigress backed off with its cubs, after threatening to attack the crew, they recalled.

Similarly, a tigress killed Channa, a tracker in Madumalai forest range, as he had ventured close to the cubs in 1994.

“In a strange display, a tigress with three cubs, chased a team of wildlife researchers, even though they were about 300 metres from it. While tigers are usually shy creatures in the wild and avoid humans, they will attack anything that appears to be a threat to the cubs,” they said.

Krupakar and Senani said that they had seen tigresses hide their cubs in dried bamboo bushes, as a measure to protect the young from other predators in the region.

Three machetes

Sources in the Forest department said that though the body of the victim was dismembered, there were no indications that the tiger had eaten away parts of the victim. Apart from it, the body being discovered close to bamboo bushes, and three machetes found close by, also adds credence to the suspicion that tiger had attacked in defence.

Sources said that the tribal might have gone inside the forest to bring bamboo. “The tigress might have been in the same bamboo bush and attacked him after being alarmed by the noise being generated when the tribal was cutting bamboo,” the source said.
Sources also rubbished claims that the tiger had dragged the victim for over one and half kilometers, after killing him.

“Tiger being the top predator in the region, it does not drag its prey for such a distance. It kills, eats a bit and hides the remains within 50-100 metres from where it had attacked,” added sources.

Compensation

Even though compensation has been paid on ‘humanitarian grounds’ to the family of the victim, experts opine that tigers accidentally mauls a person, only when he/she ventures inside the forest.

“Tribals are known to take retributory actions, such as setting the forests on fire, or refusing to assist the Forest department in operations, if compensations are not paid.

Therefore, the department is forced to pay them a compensation to prevent further damages, even though at times, the death occurs inside the reserve forest,” sources added.

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