A male tiger that has been treated for its wounded paw caused by a barb splinter and thorns in 2009, has been killing people in Ranthambhore National Park since a few months. This man-eater on the loose has killed three already.
The story is that the male tiger, identified as T-24, became aggressive towards humans after a barb splinter and thorns were surgically removed from his paw. This happened in 2009, when T-24 was tranquillised to be operated upon. Unfortunately, the tiger was underdosed and woke up while people were still busy treating the wound. This frightful and painful close encounter with humans must have turned him into a man-eater. At least that is how the officials explain the tiger’s man-killing behaviour.
It is said that soon after the incident T-24 became aggressive to humans, often snarling at tourists. Though he did not attack any people then, he supposedly killed his first human-being in July 2010, a person who went into the jungle to collect firewood. It was not until April 2012 when another man was killed in the tiger’s territory, though it could not be established if T-24 had done it. And just recently a forester with the department was killed by the tiger.
As you may expect the local people are terrified and have stopped travelling between sunset and sunrise, the usual tiger hunting hours. It is expected that measures will be taken to have the tiger removed from the park, because many times people sleep on railway station platforms in the region when trains are running late and going home is not an option. One of the obvious measures is relocating the tiger, especially because there is no absolute proof* that the tiger killed people. Hopefully they will not as in the old days kill the tiger, which requires the organisation of a tiger hunt. Like in the days of Jim Corbett, the famous killer of man-eating tigers and leopards in India, who described several occasions similar to the above when he was asked by the local authorities to hunt down a man-eater. Corbett was convinced that tigers and leopards only become man-eaters when they are injured, old or have broken canines, and therefore look for easy prey, such as humans. Killing a male tiger, which contributes valuable genes to the necessary genetical diversity of the Endangered tiger*, should be the last resort.
Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve January 2012
A 3 day research trip to Ranthambhore Tiger reserve (credit Warren Pereira):
more videos from Warren Pereira here
(Source: dailybhaskar.com, 25.11.2012; aboutzoos.info, Edward James (Jim) Corbett; *comments by Warren Pereira, 21.08.2013)