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Friday, November 21, 2014

Vandalur Tiger returns ... another one released in Bangalore and maneaters !!

Most large predatory animals can kill at will – yet may not see humans as suitable prey – but it is stated that when they kill and taste blood – chances are they would turn  ‘man eaters’. Man-eater is a colloquial term for an animal that preys upon humans.  Most reported cases of man-eaters have involved tigers, leopards, lions and crocodilians.  There could have been chance savage attacks on  humans as prey, by many animals  including bears, Komodo dragons, hyenas, cougars, and sharks.

There is news from Bangalore that a tiger, believed to have killed a woman in Pandaravalli village, was released in Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary, but fearful Belagavi residents want it recaptured. The decision of the Forest Department to release the captured tiger  seems to have  backfired  with apprehensive residents of Talawade village in Khanapur taluk demanding its recapture. The officials had brought the captured tiger in a vehicle and released it into the forests in the morning – soon after learning of the release, irate residents took the officials to task and asked them why they had let the big cat into the forests, thereby putting their lives in danger. In Bengaluru,  Principal Chief Conservator of Forests stated in a Press conference that no norms were flouted while releasing the tiger into the wild. He also cautioned the media to report with care, especially with reference to terming of the tiger a “man-eater” as the tiger could have killed the woman out of fear and not as prey.

Back home, Vandalur heaved a a sigh of relief when the errant tigress was finally captured.  The Hindu reported that the tigress Vidya was finally captured with a trap inside the animal house.  Reportedly, a drop gate was set up and eight kg of beef was hung on a wire tied to the gate -  the tigress, smelling the meat, entered the animal house.  Vidya has the habit of staying outside the animal house for two or three days at a stretch.
white tiger at vandalur. picture credit : my friend Ms Revathy

The same incident is reported in Times of India, which struck to its version that the animal at large was ‘Nethra’ – it stated that officials have finally trapped Nethra, four days after the Royal Bengal tiger was reported 'missing' at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur.  For the next two weeks, visitors will be allowed to see Padma, the eldest of the five tigers in the enclosure; while the other tigers would be locked in their shelter till an alternative arrangement is made.  Nethra, who had remained elusive since part of the enclosure wall collapsed on Friday, walked into the trap. Sources said that except for Nethra, who had remained in the open enclosure for the past few weeks and refused to enter her shelter, the others — Vidya, Aarthi, Uthraa and Padma — had obeyed their keeper.

As could be read it is ‘Vidya’ in the Hindu, which according to TOI had remained inside the shelter – and the one at large was ‘Nethra’.

‘Man-Eaters of Kumaon’  is a book written by  Jim Corbett. It details the experiences that Corbett had in the Kumaon region of India from the 1900s to the 1930s, while hunting man-eating tigers and leopards. One tiger, for example, was responsible for over 400 human deaths.

Australian shores are croc-infested.  In Aug 2014, an albino-headed crocodile named Michael Jackson was  held responsible for killing a man at the Adelaide River on Monday afternoon. A 57-year-old man was attacked and killed by the crocodile in front of his wife while they were fishing at the river, about 60km east of Darwin. Police and rangers scouring the crocodile-infested river by boat that night shot and killed the crocodile and recovered the man's body. 

In Bhuhaneswar, freedom may just be days away for Gori, believed to be the country’s only fair-skinned crocodile, living in captivity at the Bhitarkanika National Park since her birth 39 years ago.  Gori, which literary means the fair one, remains a virgin having persistently refused to take partners, turning aggressive at times. Lodged in a pen at the Dangmal crocodile research centre in Bhitarkanika National Park since her birth in 1975, the 8-ft long crocodile is a rare albino with white patches all over her body.  The park authorities decided to set Gori free and release her in wild with hope that it could search for partner.  The croc was the mascot for the National Youth Festival, 2010, in Bhubaneswar.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

20th Nov. 2014.

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