Corbett (NOT a) man-eating tigress killed – The Story of the Untimely Death of a Wild Tiger at Corbett, an EyeWitness Account
The below article on “Corbett man-eating tigress killed” is the opinion of a well known wildlife photographer. He explains below on the story he heard from eyewitnesses on exactly what happend at the site when the department killed the “man-eating” tiger.
Corbett (NOT a) man-eating tigress killed, an EyeWitness Account
An Eyewitness account of what “really” happened behind the scenes of the pinning (read killing ) of the Man-Eater of Corbett with a Digger or a JCB (Heavy Earth Moving Machine) – whatever it is called!!
This in not my observation nor I was present there but this is the narration of a few eyewitnesses to the whole incident. Just sharing a few points that I have learnt ( from people present during the tiger capture operation) about the incident.
Not a Man-Eater!!
Yes the tiger has not killed a single villager. No it has not ventured out of the forest to make a kill nor it has made regular human kills. All these are essential and necessary conditions to call a tiger a man-eater, yet he is being labelled so.
What did it kill then? It killed a laborer, working on an illegal mine inside the forest. That too the laborer was attacked while collecting firewood when she was in a bent down position. The other person was attacked while trying to rescue the body of the first victim, his relative. How then in the world will this tiger become a mat-eater?
Then again if the tiger is not classified as a ‘man-eater’, forest department has no power to term it so and decide to translocate it elsewhere, within few hours of the killings .
But, if the forest department didn’t act, the way they did, the illegal mine laborers were refusing to work, which would have resulted in huge loss to the miners. But why did the forest department buckle under pressure from the illegal mining lobby, what is it that we don’t know? Or, we all know what would have transpired!!
The “Unfortunate” Tiger Rescue Operation Starts
Within few hours, the Department succumbed to illegal pressure mounted by illegal miners, the “rescue ” Op was given a go ahead. The Forest Dept. within few hours decided to get rid of the tiger and summoned 4 JCBs, probably from the mining site. The Veterinary was called for but the rescue Op started much before he arrived. What followed was complete chaos with hundreds of people gathered near the rescue site and not much police to handle them. As per the protocol the tranquilizers are to be administered when the animal is at peace, in the presence of just a limited number of people.
The commotion caused, created confusion on the number of shots fired/ hit the tiger, with both rescue team and the vet claiming to have hit atleast one. The revival shot also got delayed in this melee. The tiger who was not used to seeing so many people and who never ventured outside the territory, became aggressive on seeing such large mob, heavy machinery and commotion. On seeing this, the senior officers fled the spot and stood near the riverbed, the Op however continued in the presence of rescue team, the lower rung staff of FD and the vet.
“Pinning Down of the Tiger” 🙁
The tiger was finally “pinned down” by the JCB (totally against the SOP ) as we all saw in the video which was leaked all over.
The forest department argued that a specific tranquilizer dosage cannot be ascertained in such ops, one wonders how can the JCB operator measure and apply the exact pressure to a tiger with a excavator bucket.
The actual information is based on the eyewitness accounts. There may be slight deviations in the factual story, as this isn’t a first-hand account
Sarosh Lodhi – the author of this article is a self taught, environment conscious photographer, based out of Central India. A wildlife aficionado, he has an oeuvre of two decades. His works have been published national and international media. He is also the founder member of a largely popular wildlife conservation group called CLaW. CLaW – Conservation Lenses and Wildlife
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