US & World

India man-eating tigress killed after huge hunt

Body of T-1 tigress, 3 November 2018Image copyright Indian Forestry Dept
Image caption There will now be a post-mortem on the tigress

A tigress in India which is said to have killed 13 people has been shot dead after a major hunt, officials say.

The six-year-old tigress had evaded capture in the jungles of the western state of Maharashtra for two years.

Last month wildlife officials deployed perfume in a bid to lure the animal.

Activists had campaigned to save the tiger, but India’s Supreme Court said it would not interfere if forest rangers were forced to shoot it.

A team armed with a tranquiliser gun and a firearm was stationed in a vehicle on a road where the tigress, known as T-1, had been spotted by villagers, a Forestry Department statement said.

A patrol team went to an area near Borati village on Friday evening, after receiving reports of the tigress’ presence.

A tranquilliser dart was fired at the animal. Once hit, the tigress charged the patrol’s vehicle and she was killed by a single shot from a distance of between eight and 10 metres (26-33 ft), the statement said.

A post-mortem will now be performed on the beast.

In August the tigress and her two nine-month-old cubs killed three people in the area around the town of Pandharkawada in Yavatmal district and left more than 5,000 residents fearing for their lives.

Farmers and graziers were told to return early from the fields and forest, venture out only in groups, and not defecate in the open fields, a common practice in the villages.

Meanwhile the hunt for the tigress included more than 100 camera traps, bait in the form of horses and goats tied to trees, round-the-clock surveillance from treetop platforms and armed patrols.

Wildlife officials also brought in bottles of Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein, which contains a pheromone called civetone, after an experiment in the US suggested that it could be used to attract jaguars.

T-1 is believed to have killed 10 people in 20 months since 2016 before killing three more in August.

DNA tests on swabs from tiger saliva from the wounds of seven of the 13 victims showed that five of them were inflicted by a female tiger.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption India is home to 60% of the world’s tigers

Many of the bodies were decapitated as she dragged her prey away. She appears to have tasted human flesh as at least one victim was found with his leg torn off.

The BBC’s Soutik Biswas says T-1 may have been attacking humans after coming across them as they grazed cattle in the forest.

The villagers are banned by the government from grazing their cattle in the reserve and have been taking them into the forest because there is little fodder close to their homes, our correspondent says.

With more than 2,200 big cats, India is home to 60% of the world’s tigers. There are more than 200 in Maharashtra, but only a third of them live in the state’s 60 protected areas, including sanctuaries, natural parks and tiger reserves.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-46081484

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