Hediyala Range, India.
Tigers are the largest cat on Earth.
And known man killers.
The Bandipur tiger, labelled a “man-eater”, was shot dead in the Hediyala range on Thursday after it pounced on a forest watcher, who was on a combing exercise to dart and tranquilise the animal.
The condition of the watcher Shivakumar is serious. The operation to nab the elusive tiger was launched after it killed Shivanna, a farmer of Haadanuru village, while he was tending to his cattle on Tuesday. The focus of the entire operation was to dart and tranquilise the tiger and shoot it dead only in a worst-case scenario.
The animal was shot dead around 5.45 p.m. when Mr. Shivakumar, along with Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Ravi Ralf, sharpshooter from Bengaluru G. Sushil Kumar and a team, were walking in single file after tying two live baits to a tree.
“We had finished the combing operation for the day as it was getting dark and were walking fully aware of the dangers, when a deafening and blood-curdling roar broke the silence of the jungles. Startled, we turned around to see the ghastly sight of Mr. Shivakumar being mauled by the tiger, with his head almost in the jaws of the animal,” said Mr. Ralf.
“There was no way out but to shoot the tiger to save the guard. Mr. Sushil, who was at a distance of 6 to 7 feet from Mr. Shivakumar, opened fire from close quarters and pumped in two bullets resulting in its death.”
The first bullet pierced through the tiger’s shoulder, but it did not let go Mr. Shivakumar. Mr. Sushil then shot it through its head putting an end to the man-eater of Hediyala. The scenario was bone-chilling as Mr. Shivakumar had to be removed from the dead tiger’s clutches. and arrangements were made to shift him to the hospital.
There was no doubt that the tiger was a man-eater, because it did not touch the live baits tied specifically to ensure that it does not enter human landscape or the village again at night, said Mr. Ralf. “Instead, it went after the human and the tiger’s canines had pierced through Mr. Shivakumar’s cap, which was dangling even after its death,” he said. The post-mortem will be conducted on Friday and the carcass burnt as per the National Tiger Conservation Authority protocols.
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