In sugarcane fields of north India, farm labourers fear a man-eating tiger on the prowl (w/ photos)

Published: February 14, 2014


Picture 1 of 13

In this Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 photo, pug marks left by a tiger that attacked and killed a young man working nearby is seen on a field in Maniawala, northern India. AP Photo/Saurabh Das

TIM SULLIVAN
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

MANIWALA, India — She lies in wait while her victims are collecting firewood, or taking cattle to graze, or working in the fields. She has grabbed people in broad daylight, carrying them away silently into the forests or the sugarcane fields. By the time the victims are found, often little is left but a pair of shoes, unspeakable gore and a ring of drying blood.

Over seven weeks she has travelled, almost completely unseen, for more than 120 miles (190 kilometres). She has crossed villages, small towns and at least one highway.

A killer is stalking the villages of north India. She has killed at least nine people, all of them poor villagers living on the fringes of one of the world’s last wild tiger habitats. They are people who cannot afford a day off work, people who have no indoor plumbing and must use the fields as their toilets. They are people who know little about India’s recent successes in tiger conservation.

But with the sudden appearance of one tiger, they look at an animal so beloved to outsiders and see only a monster.

“She has turned into a man-eater,” said Vijay Pal Singh, whose neighbour, a 22-year-old farm labourer named Shiv Kumar Singh, was killed as he worked at the edge of a sugarcane field in January. In an area where nearly everyone works outside, this means life has been completely upended. “People are afraid to go into the fields,” said Singh. “Everything has changed.”

While hunters are brought in to kill man-eating tigers every year or so in India, it has been decades since a tiger killed as many people as this one, or stayed on the run so long.

“She won’t stop now. She’ll keep killing,” said Samar Jeet Singh, a hunter with an aristocratic pedigree, a curled-up moustache and a high-powered heirloom rifle. For almost a month he has been tracking the female tiger, most recently through the forests and dried riverbeds near where she made her last kill, cutting down an elderly buffalo herder last week. Searchers found just part of one arm and one leg. The tiger left the buffalos unharmed.

When he finds her, he said, he will shoot her dead.

“The time for tranquilizing is over, the time for caging is over,” he said. “Now she must be killed.”

For generations, few in these villages even thought about tigers. The encroachment of towns, widespread poaching and incompetent wildlife programs had devastated India’s tiger populations, forcing them into ever-smaller enclaves. Corbett National Park, one of India’s premier tiger reserves, is barely 25 miles away, but while the villagers around here are used to living with wildlife — the forests and fields shelter leopards, monkeys, foxes, bears and wild boars — tigers were extremely rare.

The last decade, though, has seen improvements in tiger conservation and growth in the tiger populations. If that is good news in many ways, it has also increased the chances of encounters between tigers and people.

Pages: 1 2

Tags: , , ,



Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

Featured

Surrey

Surrey mayoral candidates trade jibes over closed-door meetings

Ex-Mayor McCallum calls out opponents Hepner and Rasode for ‘hypocrisy’ LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI With the Surrey election months away, the mudslinging has already begun….
Continue Reading »

India's Supreme Court stays death penalty of man convicted in rape-murder of four-year-old. PNG Archive

Former Abbotsford Hindu priest jailed on sex charges denied parole

Karam Vir is serving a 21/2-year sentence JENNIFER SALTMAN VANCOUVER DESI A former Hindu priest from Abbotsford who was convicted of sex crimes involving two…
Continue Reading »

India pachydermal love story

Indian elephant heartbroken after partner’s death

VANCOUVER DESI An elephant in India has been diagnosed with a broken heart after its partner died on Tuesday, according to the Hindustan Times. The…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Surrey

Surrey mayoral candidates trade jibes over closed-door meetings

Ex-Mayor McCallum calls out opponents Hepner and Rasode for ‘hypocrisy’ LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI With the Surrey election months away, the mudslinging has already begun….
Continue Reading »

India's Supreme Court stays death penalty of man convicted in rape-murder of four-year-old. PNG Archive

Former Abbotsford Hindu priest jailed on sex charges denied parole

Karam Vir is serving a 21/2-year sentence JENNIFER SALTMAN VANCOUVER DESI A former Hindu priest from Abbotsford who was convicted of sex crimes involving two…
Continue Reading »

Police tape

Woman found dead in Abbotsford park identified as Mission resident

JENNIFER SALTMAN VANCOUVER DESI Abbotsford police have identified a woman found dead in Mill Lake Park on Wednesday morning as a 36-year-old Mission resident. The…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

India-rape-protest

Minor allegedly raped by temple priest in southern India

HINDUSTAN TIMES An 11-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a temple priest in Bangalore on Tuesday, less than a month after a seven-year-old was raped…
Continue Reading »

10448541_801823293184201_5325323972611294529_desi

Miss Diva 2014 gears up for auditions

IANS New Delhi – Miss Diva, that was launched last year as an official franchise from India for Miss Universe, is set to start auditions…
Continue Reading »

Scene from Airtel's latest commercial. YouTube/Screengrab.

Indian telecom company’s not so progressive ad featuring a “boss wife” causes Twitter reaction

IANS New Delhi  – Is a woman who calls the shots in the office then goes home to cook for her husband – who’s also…
Continue Reading »

child death

Toddler falls into pot of boiling syrup, dies

  IANS New Delhi – A three-year-old boy died after he fell into a pot of boiling sugar syrup, police said here Wednesday. The child,…
Continue Reading »

Merritt music festival

Headdresses banned from Merritt music festival out of respect to First Nations

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI An electronic music festival this B.C. Day long weekend in Merritt has banned native headdresses from its campgrounds. “Bass Coast Festival…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

SALMAN KHAN

Kick: Salman Khan, Sajid Nadiadwala kick up a storm

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Film: “Kick”; Cast: Salman Khan, Randeep Hooda, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Jacqueline Fernandez; Director: Sajid Nadiadwala; Rating: **** “Kick toh banta hai,…
Continue Reading »

Anish_Paris_2_small

Indian author pens sequel to Jeffrey Archer’s ‘First Among Equals’ for Bollywood film

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Mumbai – In what must qualify as a first in the field of literary adaptations, author-columnist Anish Trivedi has written a…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan joins hands with Indian TV channel to host Indian version of “Got Talent”

IANS Mumbai – Superstar Shah Rukh Khan has joined hands with Hindi general entertainment channel Colors for his return to the small screen. He will…
Continue Reading »