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Tiger on prowl, fear stalks villagers

These days, a little before sunset, Anil Shedmake double checks if the door to his home is properly fastened. He also ensures that his farm animals are safe and secure. Pradip Kumar Maitra tells more...

india Updated: Nov 24, 2009 13:03 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra

These days, a little before sunset, Anil Shedmake double checks if the door to his home is properly fastened. He also ensures that his farm animals are safe and secure.

Last Saturday, Shedmake of Dongargaon village escaped from the clutches of a tiger. But, the wild cat gobbled up three of his goats. Like Shedmake, the entire village stays put after sunset.

After all, the tiger has already injured one villager. It has also killed a cow and at least 10 goats in Dongargaon and the neighbouring Dhaba village.

Fear stalks this village in Chandrapur, some 200 km from Nagpur. Chandrapur is home to the Tadoba tiger reserve.

"We have traced tiger's pugmarks," said a senior forest official, confirming the presence of a tiger in the area.

Forest personnel have been deployed to pre-empt any more attacks. Since 2007, tigers have killed at least 30 villagers in Chandrapur.

The man-animal conflict is emerging as a major concern for the district administration.

Forest officials said that since 2006, poachers and villagers in Tadoba and its neighbouring forests have either poisoned or killed around 16 tigers and cubs.

Shrinking spaces and food shortage forces wild animals to enter populated areas resulting in loss of life, said North Chanda circle's Conservator of Forests RS Yadav.

"People should not go to the jungle alone and avoid staying there till evening," said Yadav. "Tigers enter villages in search of cattle. When confronted by human beings, they attack them too."