Chandrapur: ‘Problem tiger’ kills elderly man, its 7th victim in one year

"Called RT1, the tiger first killed a cattle in the Virur forest range and later killed a man working in a farm. The tiger spotted the man about a km away while it was walking away from the cattle kill," Divisional Forest Officer Arvind Mundhe told The Indian Express.

THE ‘problem tiger’ of Rajura in Chandrapur district, which has been dodging the three tracking teams that are out to capture it, claimed its seventh victim on Saturday.

“Called RT1, the tiger first killed a cattle in the Virur forest range and later killed a man working in a farm. The tiger spotted the man about a km away while it was walking away from the cattle kill,” Divisional Forest Officer Arvind Mundhe told The Indian Express.

“The incident occurred around 4 pm and the name of the victim is Govinda Madavi. He was in his mid 60s… our two tracking teams were on the animal’s trail and had an idea that it was in that particular area. But we got the news of the cattle kill a bit late. Before we could reach the spot, the tiger had moved and had started walking towards Rajura. On the way, it spotted Madavi in his farm and pounced upon him,” said Mundhe.

“It habitually returns to the kill. Our teams will be ready at the spot,” he added.

Madavi is the seventh victim of RT1 in the last one year. The first capture order for it was issued in January, followed by two more after the earlier ones lapsed. The tiger, however, has managed to dodge the tracking teams over the past nearly nine months. As reported earlier, officials are finding it difficult to catch the animal since it returns to its kill, where the tracking teams await the tiger, only after nightfall when tranquilisation is not allowed. Also, it is moving over a vast area covering three ranges of Rajura, Virur and Kothari, making the tracking process more difficult.

Asked if RT1 was becoming a fit case for shooting, honorary wildlife warden of Chandrapur district and wildlife activist, Bandu Dhotre, said, “The tracking teams are really working very hard. On many days, they have to even go without a bath. An urgent meeting should be held to decide how to put an end to RT1’s killing spree. It is proving to be very difficult to catch.”

On Wednesday, forest officials had captured a ‘problem tigress’ from Pandharkawda in Yavatmal district, where it had attacked two humans, one of them fatally.

RT1 is the most-wanted ‘problem tiger’ in the man-tiger conflict zone of Vidarbha, having been officially acknowledged as responsible for the death of seven humans. Earlier, Pandharkawda tigress T1( Awani), which was shot dead in 2018, was found to have killed five persons on the basis of spot and forensic evidence. The area, however, had seen 13 deaths over a period of two years, and the tigress was suspected to be behind all of them.

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