Govt may declare Ustad a man-eater

  • Rashpal Singh, None, JAIPUR
  • Updated: May 10, 2015 16:27 IST

The Rajasthan government is considering declaring a tiger at the Ranthambhore national park that has killed four people in the past five years, as a man-eater, an official said on Saturday.

The tiger, popularly known as Ustad or T-24, the most feared and largest predator in the national park, is believed to be responsible of killing four people since 2010.

Ustad’s latest victim was a 53-year-old forest guard Rampal Saini. The forest guard was mauled to death by the tiger on Friday evening.

“We will send a proposal to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for declaring this tiger as a man-eater as it has become a threat to human life…,” forest and environment minister Raj Kumar Rinwa told Hindustan Times after visiting Ranthambhore.

Rinwa handed over a cheque of Rs 2 lakh to Saini’s family. The government has announced job to Saini’s son, special pension and Rs 20 lakh additional compensation to the family.

The conservationists are, however, divided over the proposal, claiming that biotic pressure and increasing number of tigers are responsible for the problem.

“T-24 should be shifted and kept in captive stage. It has become a real threat to humans” said Dharmendra Khandal, conservation biologist with Ranthambhore-based Tiger Watch Foundation.

He said shifting T-24 would pose problem for cubs of T-38 tigress, living near its territory, as another tiger, T-58, may try to hurt the cubs.

Sunayan Sharma, president of Sariska Tiger Foundation, differs. “Tigers are usually not man-eaters. The problem occurs because of congestion and human interference. Tigers come to the periphery of the forest because of overcrowding and humans become easy prey. T-24 should be shifted to core area for some time and monitored,” said Sharma adding that long term solution to such problem is shifting some tigers to Sariska.

“Some other tiger can take place of T-24 and display similar behavior as such shifting excess tigers to Sariska is a viable solution” said Sharma.

“Declaring tiger a man-eater and shifting it is no solution. Bad change is taking place in the behavior of the tigers because of uncontrolled behavior of tourists that is leading to stress among the tigers.

A man-eater stalks and kills humans but it has never happened in Ranthambhore,” said former forest department chief RN Mehrotra.

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