A full-grown male tiger scaled a 12-foot fence and killed a 20-month-old tigress inside an enclosure in a protected forest in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday, an incident experts said was the result of a battle for territorial dominance.
In the wild, male tigers are known to fiercely protect areas they mark for themselves and fend off intruders they see as competitors for food.
Bandhavgarh tiger reserve deputy director KP Bangar, however, said it is rare for tigers to go to such extremes like jumping over a 12-foot fence to kill another tiger.
“It is a rare incident. In my career as a wildlife officer, I have never come across such an incident…”
The tigress was shifted to the enclosure on November 22 from the reserve’s buffer zone — an area which separates the core area from human habitation – where she was seen as a risk to the life of humans and livestock.
Bangar said after killing the tigress, the male tiger — officially known as T37 — kept venturing near the carcass for a long time.
“The tigress had deep wounds on her head. The post-mortem will be held on Wednesday,” he said.
The Bandhavgarh reserve, sandwiched between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges in Umaria district, has one of the highest tiger densities in the country with 61 adult big cats and 12 sub-adults.
The reserve has been witnessing growing incidents of man-animal conflict over the past few years, resulting in death of both man and tigers.
Tuesday’s was sixth tiger death in Bandhavgarh this year and 27th in the state.
Several tigers have also been poached over the years, many of them for occult rituals that people believe ensures “prosperity”.
Categorised as endangered by the global body, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), tigers are poached for their body parts, considered an aphrodisiac in some countries. Tiger skins are also used as decorative pieces by collectors across the world.