The tigress that was released in Bor wildlife sanctuary on July 29 killed a man on the fringes of the sanctuary on Tuesday evening, raising a big question mark on the experiment to release it back in the wild after its capture in July.
The tigress, nomenclatured T27C1, was captured after an arduous search in Bramhapuri forest of Chandrapur district after it had killed two persons and injured three others in a series of attacks. The attacks had generated a lot of anger among the people of the affected villages leading to violent clashes between villagers and police and forest staffers. Shooting orders were issued by principal chief conservator of forest A K Mishra but the tracking team had managed to capture the tigress alive.
After long deliberations and upon great insistence by wildlife activists, it was decided to release the tigress back in the wild. Consequently, the two-year old female was released in the Bor wildlife sanctuary in Wardha district with a radio collar around her neck. Two teams of trackers had since been following her to ensure that she didn’t stray near villagers, leading to any further conflict with humans.
Initially for a few days, the tigress did loiter around some villagers but was pushed into the core of the sanctuary by the tracking teams. She was believed to have accepted the core as her home range. “On Tuesday evening, however, she strayed towards the range of the forest and killed Bhivaji Harle, 55, a resident of Wadala village in Ashton Tahsil, while he was taking his bullocks home,” said chief conservator of forest Hrushikesh Ranjan. Reports have it that the tigress had half-eaten the victim’s body.
Asked how the mishap occurred despite the tigress’ tracking, Ranjan said, “One of the tracking teams was about a km away while the other was about 400 metres away from the tigress. Apparently that caused delay in sending out an alert to the victim who got perilously close to the animal.”
Asked if the incident would prompt winding up of the experiment to release the tigress back in the wild, Ranjan said, “Will assess the situation and take a call soon after.”