“Man-Eater” of Ranthambore to Stay Behind Bars

The tiger, who may have killed four people, will not be released into the wild by the Supreme Court.

Updated
India
1 min read
Ustad, or T-24, has allegedly attacked at least four people (Photo Courtesy: <a href="http://www.ranthamborenationalpark.com/blog/">Ranthambore National Park</a>)

The Supreme Court dismissed a petition to release Ranthambore tiger Ustad, or T-24, from the Sajjangarh Zoo. Ustad was placed in the zoo after allegedly killing four people, including a forest guard last May.

Wildlife activists petitioned to have Ustad released after the tiger showed signs of distress in the zoo. Indira Jaising, senior lawyer on the case, told the court captivity would cause irreparable damage to Ustad, and he would be unable to return to the wild.

Jaising also disputed claims that Ustad is a “man-eater,” saying there were no witnesses to the killing. Ustad was found about 10 metres from the body.

Indian forest officers wear special jackets to protect them from man-eating tigers during a tiger census in Sajnekhali islands at Sunderban November 27. (Photo: Reuters)
Indian forest officers wear special jackets to protect them from man-eating tigers during a tiger census in Sajnekhali islands at Sunderban November 27. (Photo: Reuters)

In response to Jaising’s statements, Supreme Court Justice TS Thakur said human life is more important than Ustad’s life.

So you want eye witness accounts? If a tiger is seen near dead body, what is the inference? That he was he guarding the dead body? How can you argue on behalf of a man-eater? Human life is more important.
TS Thakur, Chief Justice of India, to Indira Jaising

Decisions relating to Ustad’s well-being should be made by wildlife wardens, the court decided.

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