India’s Man Eating Tigers


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A Bengal tiger watched by tourists at the Bandhavgarh National Park, India

Most of India’s rural areas coexist with the biodiverse wildlife that is only found in that part of the planet. India has a large concentration of tigers, the remaining wild tiger population, which is roughly about 3,000 tigers. They inhabit 70 percent of the lush land or about 25 percent of the country’s land. With this number being so high in the second most populated country in the world, there is bound to be bad encounters.

Tiger attacks are not very common, however, around 40 to 50 people are killed by tigers annually. Even though tigers are not considered “man-eaters,” it is predicted that around 10-15 tigers become consistent with hunting humans in particular.

Who is to blame? Is it humans’ fault? With habitat destruction decreasing the size of natural habitat for tigers and the rising numbers of the human population, one can only imagine the circumstances tigers must endure in order to just live normal lives.

Humans hunt animals, such as deer and other mammals, and there are also variables like man-made forest fires, the loss of habitat and of natural resources that pushes tigers deeper into human territory, and searching for food and a home. These factors all add to the hostile environment that pushes both humans and tigers against one another for survival. A great example is T-1, a tigress that has taken 13 lives.

Her first victim was in 2015 when she killed a 60 year old woman in her field; the body was found with slashes over her back. For the next three years, T-1 took the lives of 11 other victims. She was shot in the head on Nov. 2, 2018.

Her death caused an array of reactions by the local and nonlocal communities. In Maharashtra, villagers celebrated the death of T-1 with firecrackers, while cities held candles and mourned her loss. This caused an uprising in animal activists claiming that she did not deserve to be killed, but it also raised the question: what do you do with a man-eating tiger?

The government of India has tried to relocate tigers to more secluded areas. In 2014, a “man-eater” was released 174 miles away from the Bhadra Tiger Reserve. Three weeks later, it returned and killed a pregnant woman. So, what options are available?

As of right now, it seems like there are no possible options to stop tigers from taking more lives. The only option is to let nature play its game, just hoping that today will not be the day that a tiger gets you.