A male Bengal tiger that killed eight people was captured after a months-long chase by officials with India’s Forest Department and biologists with the local conservation organization, Wildlife Trust of India (WFI), in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. After avoiding laced bait and tranquilizer darts, the tiger was finally trapped by officials earlier this month. Even after being tranquilized three times, the animal still lashed out, injuring several villagers who had begun throwing rocks at it. Eventually, though, the hunt for the cat ended with its capture.
“This tiger was becoming increasingly difficult to capture as it was getting more wary with every attempt. Moreover, there were other challenges to counter, like rains washing away evidence of the tiger and assuaging public frustration,” said, PP Singh, district forest officer of Shahjehanpur forest division.
The tiger killed its first victim in May and for the next four months killed seven more people. By working with local communities and warning people not to go into the forest, the Forest Department was able to avoid any additional casualties since late August.
According to WTI biologist, Milind Pariwakam, the tiger is not being considered a true man-eater.
“It is extremely unfortunate that eight people lost their lives. Yet, the tiger was not exclusively attacking humans but was also predating on wild prey like blue bull, spotted deer, wild boar and black buck. Moreover, the human victims were killed within forested areas,” said Pariwakam.
Man-eating tigers are often known for pursuing their human prey even into villages and homes, yet this animal remained in the forest. In addition, its ability to take-down large non-human prey proves that it was an adept hunter, and not killing humans due to some defect.
Officials were able to verify that they had caught the right individual using camera trap photos of its stripes and comparing pugmarks.
The tiger is now be monitored in captivity at Lucknow Zoo.
As tigers continue to lose habitat they are increasingly running into conflict with people. The tiger is classified as Endangered by the IUCN Red List due to poaching for traditional medicines, habitat loss, and declines in prey. Although, there have been decades of targeted conservation efforts to save the world’s largest cat from extinction, tiger populations continue to fall worldwide.