Today's Paper

Tiger on the run having a ball in birds' paradise

The male tiger that intruded into the Keoladeo National Park bird sanctuary near Bharatpur in Rajasthan this past Sunday is seemingly enjoying his stay and is in no hurry to leave. The animal, now confirmed as T-7 of Ranthambhore National Park, which announced his arrival in Keoladeo with the killing of a blue bull, has over the past two days hunted a wild boar and a calf of feral cattle and fed on the former ignoring the calf. Though the bird sanctuary staff has been keeping a vigil, the tiger has not made an appearance before the humans so far.

“The tiger continues to be in Keoladar area of the sanctuary where the grass is standing tall. No one could spot it so far despite a strict vigil. However, we have now with us a set of 25 photographs of the animal eating the wild boar, taken with the help of a trap camera,” informed Anoop K.R., Field Director of the National Park, speaking from Bharatpur on Friday.

“The tiger seemingly consumed the wild boar fully though some of the photographs show a hyena in the background,” he said.

The tiger was on the run for the past fortnight after attacking and injuring over half a dozen persons at Mathura in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh. Curiously this is the same tiger, estimated to be around four years old, which had badly mauled a range officer in a village on the periphery of Ranthambhore National Park a month back. Even prior to this, T-7 has been shuttling between Ranthambhore Park and the neighbouring sanctuary of Kailadevi before choosing the long haul to the Rajasthan-UP border. Experts are of the view that going by its past behaviour the animal is not to remain in the 29 sq km area of the sanctuary for long.

“I have watched this tiger closely. He is not to stop here for long,” said Dharmendra Khandal, Director of Tiger Watch at Ranthambhore. Dr. Khandal, who confirmed the animal in the picture as T-7, said the authorities should devise a plan for shifting it to any tiger sanctuary, preferably not Sariska. He was dismissive of taking it back to Ranthambhore or Kailadevi as the former was already “saturated for tigers” and the latter did not have an adequate prey base.

“We can exchange it for a tigress from Madhya Pradesh. The animal can be shifted to Kuno, Panna or Kanha. This could be a gene pool exchange which will benefit the tigers from both the States,” he argued.

There have been reports in local newspapers about the Rajasthan forest authorities planning to shift T-7 to Sariska to join the already existing five tigers, relocated from Ranthambhore. “There are already two male tigers in Sariska now and another male is not of any additional relevance,” he pointed out.

There is reason for the authorities at Van Bhavan, the Forest Department headquarters here, and at Keoladeo National Park to worry as T-7 is a tiger with a past. The young cat has attacked a good number of people and has seemingly lost its fear of human beings. Keoladeo is a bird sanctuary where the visitors normally move either on foot or on bicycles and cycle rickshaws. “T-7 is no more afraid of the presence of humans. That is not going to help much as it has a history of attacking humans,” Dr. Khandal observed.