Kumram Bheem Asifabad district recorded its second human kill by a tiger in a period of less than 20 days, when an adolescent girl was fatally attacked by the big cat on Sunday, in Penchikalpet area of the Bejjur forest block.
The first kill was reported on November 11, when a youth Sidam Vignesh from Digada village died in tiger attack in a forest abutting Dahegaon mandal of the district, not far from the site of the latest kill. In the latest instance, the girl Pasula Nirmala, 15, from Manneguda hamlet of the Kondapalli village panchayat was picking cotton in an agricultural field inside the forest along with her two brothers and 10 more villagers, when the tiger attacked her.
The feline dragged her 10 feet when her brothers close by heard the sound and raised a clamour, forcing the animal to leave the body and clear off. Forest officials including the Field Director, Kawal Tiger Reserve, Vinod Kumar and District Forest Officer Shantaram who have inspected the spot said they could not collect any pug marks due to darkness, presence of hundreds of villagers and hard soil.
DFO Shantaram has confirmed the tiger attack and said the animal has not consumed any part of the body. Efforts are on to locate the animal and a total of 20 camera traps have been set up to capture the image of the feline. Forest officials categorically denied that the killer tiger was the same as in the previous instance.
“The tiger had returned to Maharashtra, and since then a team has been monitoring the border areas closely. Forest officials from Maharashtra had also confirmed that the tiger was in their area,” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Head of Forest Forces) R. Sobha.
It is suspected that the attacker might be one of the two new tigers which had entered the Kagaznagar corridor area from Maharashtra on November 24. If true, this could be even more worrisome as Maharashtra has been grappling with several man-eating tigers in its forest areas. “The latest incident did not seem to be an accident. The animal was clearly stalking its victim, which is typical of the man-eating tigers. This is alarming,” confided an official under the condition of anonymity.
The victim’s family will be given a compensation of ₹5 lakh, officials said.