The Forest Department has thrown a security ring around a problem area in the Sindewahi range of Chandrapur following five human deaths in tiger attacks in five months in a patch of just two sq km. Of these, one death each happened in January, February and March while two happened in June, the latest happening on June 17. According to Deputy Conservator of Forest (Brahmapuri) Kulraj Singh, the problem animal, a two-year old male tiger, has been identified and a committee is discussing measures about what to do with the tiger.
“We have trap camera pictures of the animal, where he is clearly seen at the spot, where the dead bodies were lying. In the second and third cases, the tiger was captured from about 200 metres away. But in the fourth and fifth cases, it has been clearly identified,” Singh told The Indian Express. “A committee had been formed as per the protocol of the National Tiger Conservation Authority to mull the mitigation and we will soon submit the report to Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) suggesting the mitigation, which could be capturing the animal,” he added.
The frequent incidents of tiger attacks in Sindewahi had caused concern at the highest level with Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar directing the officials to provide relief to the people as early as possible.
“We have intensified patrolling in the area and have also summoned Special Tiger Protection Force to man the area and provide security to people, who have got busy with sowing operations now,” Singh said.
While one of the five deaths happened in a farm, four other happened in forests close to the farms. Most victims had gone to the forests to collect firewood or minor forest produce like mahua flowers, according to the Rithe DCF.
Chandrapur district, which has over 100 tigers in its forest, including about 44 in the TadobaAndhari Tiger Reserve, has been a hotspot of man-animal conflict since the past over a decade. This year, the district has registered 11 deaths so far. Nine of them have been caused in tiger attacks, one due to wild boar attack and another due to bear attack.
Two latest incidents happened on Sunday, when a farmer was mauled to death by a group of wild boars and the male tiger killed a woman, both in the Sindewahi range.
The Brahmapuri forest division, which contains the Sindewahi range, continues to be the most critical area, with seven deaths attributed to tiger attacks in the division this year so far. Brahmapuri division spread over 1,100 sq km, incidentally, has the maximum number of tigers, around 44, for any non-protected areas (areas besides tiger reserves and sanctuaries).
The two other fatal tiger attacks happened in Chandrapur division. Five of the victims in the Chandrapur district have been women.