Man-eater tiger in Maharashtra claims eighth victim

Tranquilization efforts have failed so far, thus raising fears it may meet the fate of Avni, the tigress killed in 2018

The tiger, named RT1, killed a senior citizen in Khambada village in Rajura tehsil of Chandrapur on Monday. (Photo for representation purpose only)

A tiger in the forests of Chandrapur district in Maharashtra has gone rogue as it has killed eight humans so far, thus raising an alarm among forest officials and conservationists alike.

The tiger, named RT1, killed a senior citizen in Khambada village in Rajura tehsil of Chandrapur on Monday.

Deputy Conservator of Forest Arvind Mundhe told Indian Express, “The deceased, Maroti Pendam, had gone to the forest when the tiger pounced upon him. We had repeatedly told villagers to not to venture into forests at night since RT1 became a man-eater.”

The forest officials found pug marks that suggest it could be the same tiger. They have taken swabs and sent them for forensic testing.

This tiger has attacked 11 people so far, leading to eight deaths and three injuries. This is the highest number of human casualties caused by any tiger in Maharashtra.

T1 (Avni) from Pandharkawada in Yavatmal district had killed five humans. Despite hue and cry and demands to save the tiger, it was shot dead on November 2, 2018, following three months of intensive search. Avni’s death made national headlines as citizens raised voice against the killing.

It is feared that RT1 may face similar fate. The forest department has been unable to tranquilise the tiger despite year-long effort. Four teams are in pursuit of the six-year-old tiger, which is roaming over a huge forest patch covering three villages.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF, Wildlife) Nitin Kakodka, told Indian Express: “We will have to examine all cases carefully before thinking of a terminal remedy (killing it). We will try to adopt some other strategy to catch it.”

The forest teams are struggling to catch the tiger though. It kills its bait but only during the night, when tranquilisation is not allowed.

Nitin Desai, central India director, Wildlife Protection Society of India, said, “This tiger has attacked 11 people, killing eight of them. It appears that it has not only lost its fear of humans, but is attacking and eating victims. If tranquilising is impossible, it should immediately be put down in the larger interest of tiger conservation. The behaviour of one rogue tiger endangers all wild tigers. Even if caught alive, it would serve no purpose of conservation.”

Also read: Additional 200 acres of land in Aarey Colony reserved for forest

In November 2018, Avni, the tigress believed to be responsible for the deaths of 13 people in two years, was shot dead in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district. In September that year, the Supreme Court said that Avni or T1, as she is known officially, could be shot on sight, prompting a flurry of online petitions.

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