Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Man Eating Tigers

Yesterday I was watching a film on Sunderbans and the man eaters. The mystery has not yet been solved why this magnificent carnivore goes after humans only in these parts. The victims are usually fishermen, villagers, honey gatherers and such people who venture deep into the forest.  

People also venture into dense confines in other tiger reserves but no such incidence happen in these places. 

Why Sunderbans? 

Has rampant hunting elsewhere put the fear of man among the tigers which has been sent down the line. Such hunting has not taken place in the Sunderbans.  

Does this have something to do with absence of large prey like the sambar, rhino, swamp deer, bison. In recent times swamp deer, Javan rhino, one horned rhino, water buffalo, hog deer and barking deer have become locally extinct. Sambar and Bison have not been reported here.  .  

Tigers rely much on coarse grazers like bison, swamp deer and sambar for food. This accords them with sufficient amount of meat on low energy expenditure.During summers whence bison descend from hills to Kanha meadows the predation by tigers become frequent.

Tiger in Forest

Swamp Deer

Male Tiger
The second line of prey in most of our tiger reserves are the live stock especially the cattle and buffaloes. Perhaps this spares the live of humans around in the buffer zones as man eating seems unnecessary in these circumstances. 

Tigers are petrified in presence of humans, as I have often witnessed, hence leave them alone seems to be the motto of the predators. 

But not at the mangrove infested forest of Sunderbans it seems.  

Well one does not know.

Well not till some researcher discovers the reason that has bellied us so far. 
Sunderban tigers not only kill those who venture into deep confines but attack rural folks in the neighborhood as well.   

The film sent chill down my spine since as a naturalist I have frequent encounters with tigers and leopards. Well its a job and they all come with the negative. I would not let go with this adventure any way.   

Photo Credits: Dinesh Makhija - Motel Chandan Kanha