There are man-eating tigers in India in 20201. This doesn’t surprise me seeing as the population of India has climbed from 238 million in 1900 to 1.4 billion in 2020 despite a massive decline in the tiger population in that country over the same period. In 1900 it is believed that there were 100,000 tigers on the planet and today that figure is something in the region of 3,500. The point I’m making is that because of a huge increase in the human population in India there is bound to be a proportionate increase in tiger-human conflict despite the reduced numbers of tigers.
- Toothache Turned Big Cats Into Man-eaters
- Man-eating Lion in Gir National Park Will Be Taken to a Zoo
- Kenya: Man-eating lions of Tsavo return to terrorise railway workers
It is said that man-eating big cats only become man-eaters because they can no longer bring down large prey “items”. They choose easy prey items such as humans. Normally, tigers prefer to avoid people and give them a wide berth. Even when provoked they turn to give a warning growl and allow the person to back away. They may be injured or have poor dental hygiene which makes it painful to bite! It might be something as simple and as silly as that but today it is reported that there is a hunt on for a man eating tiger in India which has devoured eight people in two years. They know who the tiger is. He is described as being very smart and able to avoid traps. He only operates at night and uses his instincts with intelligence. Villagers are panicked and are in their own lockdown.
The tiger’s name is Rajuri Tiger One (RT1). He is eight-years-of-age and has been blamed for a series of human killings over the past two years. Eight people have been mauled to death while three others have been injured. His first victim was a woman, Varsha Todse,near Khambada in January 2019. His latest victim is a 70-year-old farmhand, Morati Pendor, who went to collect firewood on Tuesday in the forests that border Khambada village in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.
He returned from the forest in the afternoon but went back with his axe to chop down some more firewood. About 200 meters inside the forest he was attacked. The tiger devoured most of his body leaving his head, a part of his torso and a leg.
The tiger had devoured most of Morati’s body in the night – Malesh Atram, village head
One cause of this attack is the gradual encroachment of human settlements and industry into the Taboda National Park, home to 175 tigers. The district of Chandrapur has recorded 27 fatal tiger attacks in 2020.
They are searching for the tiger. The founder of the conservation group Eco-Pro, Badu Dhotre, said that although the locals wanted the tiger killed officials were resisting. They would rather trap him. They don’t want to kill him but use tranquillisers instead. The rangers have four teams but only two of them are shooters. There is a lack of shooters which is delaying dealing with this tiger effectively.
In 2018 a female tiger was blamed for killing 13 people in Maharashtra. She was shot dead after months of searching. It was big news and sharpshooters and drones were called in to assist. There were calls not to kill the tigress and an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Between 2014 and 2019 there have been more than 220 fatal tiger attacks per government figures. It is believed that tiger numbers have climbed in India from around 1,400 to around 3,000 today. It should be noted, however, that it is very hard to accurately estimate tiger numbers. Camera traps and other means are used but my research indicates that counting is notoriously unreliable.
The bottom line is that with massively increased human population numbers there is, if we are brutally honest, no place for the tiger in India or at least that will be the situation before very long. Let’s remember that human population growth is exponential. I wrote a piece about that recently which drives home how it causes a growth in numbers which is unexpected.
1. It should be “person-eating” in 2020 if we are politically correct.
Some more on tiger attacks
P.S. Jim Corbett, the great white hunter of a bygone age, said that if a healthy tiger attacked a person it was the person’s fault because they are quite well tempered creatures. He said, “Tigers, except when wounded or when man eaters, are on the whole very good tempered. Occasionally a tiger will object to too close an approach to its cubs or to a kill that it is guarding. The objection invariably takes the form of growling, and if this does not prove effective it is followed by short rushes accompanied by terrifying roars”.
Some experts are surprised that there are not more attacks on people by tigers but Jim Corbett’s assessment explains why. Over many years of tigers and people living together there have been many encounters and possibilities for an attack which the tiger has not taken up. They tend to avoid people and give them a wide berth. It is perhaps only when provoked despite a warning from the tiger that they attack. There are numerous methods of minimising a tiger attack one of which is to wear a face mask on the back of the head. Tigers attack from behind and if they see the person looking at them they defer to the person and are reluctant to attack.
Certain places are more prone to human-tiger conflict than others. One of those places is the Sundarbans which straddles India and Bangladesh. A survey in around 2002 estimated that 100 to 150 people per year were being killed by tigers in the Sundarbans of Bangladesh.