A tribal youth was mauled to death by a tiger in Dahegaon mandal of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district on Wednesday, sending the local community into a state of panic.
Sidam Vignesh (22) of Digida, an interior tribal village in Kagaznagar Forest Division, went fishing with two of his friends Bolishetti Naveen and Sidam Srikanth. Around 12.30 p.m., Naveen and Srikanth went into the forest to pluck leaves for packing the fishes, leaving Vignesh with their day’s catch.
In the meantime, the feline leapt at the youth, mauled and dragged him inside the denser patches, Ramagundem Commissioner of Police and in-charge SP of KB Asifabad district V Satyanarayana told The Hindu . His friends managed to escape from the spot and alerted the villagers. A few hours later, the villagers found the partially-eaten remains of Vignesh in the jungle.
“The big cat ate some flesh from the dorsum (back part) and abandoned the body in the jungle,” he said, adding that the pond where the youth went fishing was nearly 8 km from River Pranahita, the largest tributary of Godavari River on Telangana and Maharashtra border.
When asked if the youngster provoked the wild animal or tried to take photos and videos to share them on social media, which might have irritated the big cat and led to the fatal attack, Mr. Satyanarayana said that it is yet to be ascertained and both Naveen and Srikanth will be questioned about the incident.
Meanwhile, Forest Department officials who rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation said they are suspecting tiger ‘K-8’ to have attacked Vignesh as the feline’s pug marks were found and it was caught in the camera traps in the division. Describing K-8 as a ‘soft nature tiger’, an officer said that they were surprised to know it attacked a human.
“After observing its nature for quite a long time, we can say that it never engages with humans or feeds on cattle or livestock,” he said. The officer said that around 12 tigers are inhabiting the area, and most of them are not undergoing stress, as the prey base is adequate for the current population.
“We have ordered an inquiry into the incident and it is the first death in the past several years in the district,” he added.
Telangana PCCF R Shobha said that Vignesh’s family has been given ₹ 20,000 for his funeral expenses. They will be given a compensation of around ₹ 5 lakh shortly. A few cages will be placed at strategic locations in the forest to trap the big cat and the officials will start announcement in the neighbouring villages about the presence of the tiger, she added.