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Bio­di­ver­sity Counts!
Obser­va­tions and opin­ions con­cern­ing zoos, evo­lu­tion, nature con­ser­va­tion and the way we treat/​support the ecosys­tems which are sup­posed to serve us.

201503Jul08:30

Tiger T-​24 in India’s Rantham­bore Tiger Reserve killed again, and is now expelled

pub­lished 03 July 2015 | mod­i­fied 18 Decem­ber 2016

Tiger T24 RanthamboreOn 25 Novem­ber 2012 I wrote about Tiger T-​24 who sup­pos­edly lost his fear of man after hav­ing been treated for its wounded paw caused by a barb splin­ter and thorns in 2009. He became a ‘man-​eater’ and had allegedly killed three man in the Rantham­bore Tiger Reserve since 2009. Some were ques­tion­ing if T-​24 really was the cul­prit of the death of these men, but it was decided to let the tiger stay in the Reserve and mon­i­tor T-24’s behav­iour more closely. All this accord­ing guide­lines issued by India’s National Tiger Con­ser­va­tion Author­ity (NTCA). T-​24, also known as Ustad to his fans, was the most pho­tographed tiger in the Reserve. But in May 2015 he killed again – a for­est guard on patrol in the Rantham­bore Reserve. There­fore, he is now relo­cated to the Saj­jan­garh Bio­log­i­cal Park in Udaipur, also in the state of Rajasthan. There he is cur­rently housed in a half-​hectare fenced enclo­sure inside the park.

This removal should have done already in 2012 after the first kill Ullas Karanth, a renown tiger expert with the New York based Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Soci­ety, told India Today.

Any tiger that loses its inher­ent fear of human beings on foot and dis­plays aber­rant behav­iour of stalk­ing or attack­ing humans should be imme­di­ately removed. Our focus should be sav­ing the tiger as a species, not on sav­ing every indi­vid­ual tiger. We should develop a vision for India pos­sess­ing a tiger pop­u­la­tion of more than 5,000 wild tigers rather than half that num­ber we have now.
(Ullas Karanth, con­ser­va­tion­ist and tiger expert)

Despite these wise words of Ullas Karanth, the deci­sion to remove T-​24 and keep­ing him in a con­fined area else­where is being ques­tioned in a social media firestorm and has even been chal­lenged before a court of law.


A short video on youtube called The True Story of Ustad T-​24, by Indian wildlife film­maker Sandesh Kadur, presents evi­dence of T-​24 as a proven man-​eater. It is a com­pi­la­tion of footage taken over the last five years. Beware, it con­tains graphic images of T-24’s victims:


For less graphic but more beau­ti­ful scenery from the Rantham­bore Tiger Reserve I have included the video below from War­ren Pereira, fea­tur­ing T-​24. In his nar­ra­tive Pereira pro­vides a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on T-24’s aggres­sive behav­iour towards man:


On Mongabay​.com Apoorva Joshi reports on the ongo­ing debate:

Social-​media firestorm defends pop­u­lar man-​eating tiger in India, rais­ing con­ser­va­tion ques­tions

On May 8, when 56-​year-​old for­est guard Ram­pal Saini set out to patrol an area of India’s famous Rantham­bore Tiger Reserve, no one had any idea it would be his last day alive. Saini was attacked and killed by a tiger with a bite to the neck. The tiger in ques­tion, T-​24, or Ustad as he is fondly known, was hugely pop­u­lar with tourists from India and the around world, and had gained a mas­sive online fol­low­ing as one of the most pho­tographed tigers in the reserve. But Saini was Ustad’s fourth vic­tim in a span of five years, and his death unleashed a heated debate – espe­cially online – about whether the ensu­ing deci­sion to ban­ish the poster-​boy of Rantham­bore to cap­tiv­ity was the right one. India has never before seen such a del­uge of emo­tion and out­rage for a sin­gle tiger.…

Read the full arti­cle on Mongabay​.com here.

Related blogs

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

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