Wildlife officials from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu have shot and killed a man-eater tiger that had terrorized the region for the past few weeks. According to the Indian Express, the tiger, which was identified as a man eater, was shot near the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu states — in the district of Wayanad in Kerala. The decision to kill the tiger — an endangered species — was taken after local villagers protested against government and wildlife officials who according to them were more concerned about protecting the life of the tiger than those of the people living in the area.
After a two day protest, Wildlife Officials decided to invoke a special clause from the Indian Wildlife Protection Act that gives officials the power to cull an animal that they deem a threat to human life. With the man-eater tiger already claiming the lives of two villagers, officials thought that this was the right thing to do. That said, wildlife activists and conservationists have raised questions as to why officials did not opt for relocating the tiger elsewhere, instead of opting for the crude method of killing it.
The Times of India had earlier reported how people from several villages in the Kerala Tamil Nadu border were living in a constant state of fear for the past few weeks following a spate of deaths caused by the man-eater tiger. It was last Tuesday that the man-eater tiger made its first human kill. The victim was a 63-year-old man whose half-eaten remains were found near the border. Just four days later, a 43-year-old woman was attacked and killed by the same tiger. Soon after, the tiger also attacked another man who was able to escape. The spate of attacks on humans resulted in a massive hunt for the man-eater tiger, which remained elusive till today.
The Kerala State Government had earlier issued a shoot-on-sight order for the man-eater tiger — a decision which was followed a few hours later by the Tamil Nadu government, as well. A total of 160 forest office personnel were put on duty to trap the animal.
According to Dhanesh Kumar, a senior official from the forest department, before the tiger was killed, they had started offering 24 hour a day, 7 day a week protection to people living in the area to prevent another attack from happening. The offer, however, did not have much effect on the people — many of whom were simply too afraid to venture out of homes after dusk. Villages, shops, and establishments rarely functioned beyond 6 p.m. local time owing to the fear of an attack by the man-eater tiger.
The news about the killing of this man-eater tiger comes just a few weeks after there were reports of an upsurge in the population of tigers in the Indian subcontinent. Tigers are the largest members of the cat family and are the largest of the big cats. A highly endangered species, only two species of the tigers remain in the world now — the Bengal tigers from India and the Siberian or Amur tigers from Russia. In 2014, a tiger attack in an Indian zoo had also resulted in the death of an individual.
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