With three human kills by tiger in just 10 days, Gadchiroli forest officials have pressed the panic button, and may seek permission from the chief wildlife warden to capture the problem tiger. In all three kills, the tiger has consumed a part of the thigh of the victim.
On August 15, Dambaji Dongre, a resident of Churchura village in Porla range, was grazing cattle when he was attacked by a tiger Gadchiroli forest. On August 19, Pundlik Nikure of Bhikarmausi under Chatgaon range was attacked. The last was Ramaji Choudhari from Gogaon at Porla on August 25.
Though the Naxal-infested tribal district had lost all its tiger population, and there were no tigers till 2019, dispersing tigers from Brahmapuri have settled here. "As per the camera trap surveys, we have a population of 18-20 tigers in Wadsa and Gadchiroli divisions," says Kishore Mankar, conservator of forests (CF).
In the last three years, from January 27, 2019, till August 25, 2021, 16 persons have been killed in human-animal conflict. In 2019, six human deaths were recorded followed by four in 2020 and six in the current year. Barring the last three cases, compensation has been paid in all human kill cases.
"We will identify the problem tiger in Gadchiroli forest as per NTCA SOP before seeking permission from the chief wildlife warden to capture the problem tiger. Till then, a primary response team (PRT) has been constituted to create awareness among the locals," said Mankar.
In the meanwhile, looking into the poorly formulated proposals to capture problem animals, PCCF (wildlife) Sunil Limaye on August 8 issued an advisory to all APCCFs (wildlife) and CCFs (territorial), directing them to prepare such proposals to capture problem animals purely on scientific basis right from day one of the incidents.
"It has been observed that in several cases of cattle kill followed by human-animal conflict, no senior officers visited the spot to review the situation and face the people to understand the cause of conflict. It is only when things go out of hand that alarm bells start ringing. This spoils the image of the forest department among people," says the PCCF advisory.
The PCCF has issued a detailed format for RFOs, ACFs, and DyCFs, and asked them to submit proposals with all scientific proof in the same format before seeking permission to capture the problem animals. The PCCF has also warned the staff to respond quickly to any conflict situation. If a wrong animal is identified or the proposals are not in proper format, the deputy conservator concerned will be responsible for the situation arising out of that, he said.