On 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.
(Ullas Karanth, conservationist and tiger expert)
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.
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.