Man-Eating Tiger Captured At Bandipur Tiger Reserve: Forest Dept
Image used for representational images. 
Image used for representational images. (Photo Courtesy: iStock)

Man-Eating Tiger Captured At Bandipur Tiger Reserve: Forest Dept

Following the Karnataka Forest Department’s clarification, the Bandipur tiger has been captured in Maguvanahalli, Bandipur Tiger Forest Range, according to the forest department.

On 9 October, the department had clarified that no kill order was issued for the tiger that had killed two humans and 13 cattle within a span of 3 months. The tiger’s latest victim was 55-year-old Shivalingappa, who was killed near his farm near Bandipur reserve forest area on Tuesday.

The clarification came after wildlife activists in the state protested, comparing the order to the killing of tigress Avni in Maharashtra last year.

“We have no intention of killing the tiger. Following the death of a villager on Tuesday, the people were demanding some immediate action so to pacify them we issued a ‘capture or kill order’ as a last resort. We will ensure the tiger is captured,”
T Balachandra, Director, Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

The Backdrop

On Wednesday, forest officials sent back controversial hunter Shafath Ali Khan from Bandipur forest. As Khan was part of Avni’s killing, the move had given wildlife activists confidence in the department.

Also Read : Killer tiger captured in Rajasthan

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The villager’s death had sparked widespread protests across villages near the tiger reserve. Following a meeting between forest officials and villagers on Tuesday, the Forest Department had issued a capture or kill order.

“The elusive tiger will be either captured or shot down within the next 24-48 hours,” read the order.

Lethal Force Only A Last Resort

Experts for tranquilising.
Experts for tranquilising.
(Photo: Special arrangement)

The Forest Department’s order to kill the tiger sparked protests among wildlife activists, who met senior forest department officials in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Following these meetings, T Balachandra, the director of Bandipur tiger reserve, had clarified that the kill order will be used only as a last resort.

“We certainly don’t want to kill the tiger. The capture or kill order has been issued so that in case any of our forest officials are attacked, they can protect themselves.”
T Balachandra, Director, Bandipur Tiger Reserve

He added that forest officials have been equipped with tranquiliser guns and veterinary doctors have been sent to the area to capture the tiger.

However, the forest officials said that task wouldn’t be easy since the tiger is four years old and strong. “It is neither old or injured. We are surprised that such a tiger has attacked humans. But it hasn’t eaten the humans,” said another forest official.

Khan Sent Packing

Sharp shooter and controversial hunter Shafath Ali Khan, who shot dead tigress Avni, was sent back from the search area by forest official. Officials said the sharpshooter arrived in the search area on his own and without permission.

Also Read : Tranquilising A Tiger: The Art of Big Cat Rescue Amid Angry Crowds

Khan has been known for undertaking several government-sanctioned killings of wild animals. Confirming the news, Karnataka forest officials said that they are equipped with tranquilisers and that they only wanted to capture the tiger.

100 Camera Traps Deployed

Camera traps
Camera traps
(Photo: Special arrangement)

Talking about the search operation, Balachandra said multiple teams have been sent across the area to search the forest.

“We found some signs of the tiger yesterday (8 October). Our teams had collected samples for DNA analysis. The process to identify the tiger has two parts – DNA testing and the strip profile. We have already sent the strip patterns for analysis in Bengaluru.”
T Balachandra, Director, Bandipur Tiger Reserve

Apart from the search team, multiple camera traps have been deployed across the area of search. “We have called for 100 more camera traps and by today (Wednesday, 9 October) 5pm or so, all the camera traps will be ready. This is addition to the 44 camera traps we already have,” he added.

While it is argued by some that the recent fire in the Bandipur forest had forced many tigers to leave the core area and prey cattle near settlements. However, forest officials said they have not found any connection between the tigers’ movement and the fire.

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