The dismembered remains of a person reported missing from Maddur colony in Gundlupet taluk of Chamarajanagar district was found in the Bandipur forests on Friday sending forest department officials into a tizzy.

Though there are speculations that the victim, identified as Cheluva – was attacked and eaten by a tiger – Conservator of Forests and Director of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Mr.H.C.Kantharaju told The Hindu that there was no confirmation that the deceased was a victim of animal attack.

“We have sent out staff to ascertain the details before we can confirm whether Cheluva was attacked by any animal”, he added.

The incident has taken place in Maddur range of Bandipur tiger reserve and is close to 20 km from the adjoining Moleyur range in the adjoining H.D.Kote taluk of Mysore district and is about 45 to 50 km from Chikkbaragi where a tiger – since captured – had claimed its third victim.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) representative D.Rajkumar said he was rushing to the spot to ascertain the details before arriving at any conclusion. “The local police have told me that the remains of corpse was highly decomposed there were only portions of it left and hence it is clear that the person was not attacked or killed during the last 24 hours. Though I suspect it could be foul play, nothing can be said with certainty at this juncture unless we identify pug marks in the vicinity or other carnivore signs”, said Mr.Rajkumar.

The officials are jittery because it was only recently that a tiger had claimed three victims in the neighbouring H.D.Kote taluk of Mysore district which was trapped with great difficulty. But DNA analysis reports that emerged from Bangalore indicated that there were no traces of human flesh in the tiger’s scat analysis which led to speculations in certain circles whether it was the same tiger that was captured at Chikkabargi.

However, the department officials are positive since the animal was captured close to where its victim’s body was discovered in the forests. The animal also had porcupine quills making it difficult to hunt and hence ruled out the possibility of having trapped the wrong tiger.

While it is yet to be determined with certainty whether the latest incident could be attributed to animal attack, wildlife activists have expressed concern that increasing frequency of human deaths inside forests was not only tragic but could erode local support for wildlife conservation in the long run.

Keywords: BandipurTigerMan eater