A TIGER that killed five persons in Chandrapur district is posing a big challenge to the forest department, who have been unable to capture it for the past eight months.
After the animal killed a shepherd in Virur range, political leaders are now demanding its capture.
The tiger aged around five to six, known as RT1, bears resemblance to Avni (T1) from Pandharkavda shot dead in November 2018. Like T1, this tiger’s “period of problem” also stretches up to one-and-a-half years. Avni was found to be responsible for five human deaths over this period, and RT1 has also killed five persons beginning January 2019. Both the tigers are equally elusive as well.
In T1’s case, however, a shot order was issued after it killed three persons in one month while RT1 is sought to be tranquilised and captured alive.
The five persons killed by RT1 were in January, November, and December last year, and March and August 18 this year. Three deaths have taken place in Rajura while two in Virur range.
Two tranquilisation orders issued earlier have expired and the third was issued a few days ago. N R Praveen, Chief Conservator of Forest, Chandrapur, however, said, “There can be no comparison between the two. In Pandharkavda, it was a tigress with cubs and here it’s a male tiger. Also, the two landscapes are entirely different.”
Asked why the tiger is proving difficult to catch, Praveen said, “It is straddling three ranges, Rajura, Virur and Kothari, covering a vast area. It doesn’t revisit the place of incident and any other natural prey it kills.”
Praveen also said officials from the forest department would be able to capture the tiger soon.
Asked why the forest teams had not been able to capture it for so long, Praveen said, “There were some issues of coordination among the three ranges. We have now strengthened it.”
Arvind Munde, Deputy Conservator of Forest, Central Chandrapur division, said, “I am trying to plot the places of incidence, including animal kills on a map, to see if there is any pattern in the tiger’s movement. That will help us capture it.”
Munde added, “All deaths have happened deep inside the forest, where people have ventured either to collect firewood or to graze cattle. Also, it has only killed humans, not eaten them. So, it can’t be labelled a habitual human stalker.”
Nitin Kakodkar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), said, “We don’t want this to turn into another T1 case. So I have instructed our Chandrapur officials to consult the Brahmapuri team that captured many tigers in the last few years before formulating a strategy.”
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