Tiger Believed to Have Killed 13 People is Shot Dead in India

Tiger cubs in the Indian state of Maharashtra, where hunters on Friday night shot a tigress that was believed to have killed 13 people.
Bryan Denton for The New York Times

A man-eating tiger that stalked the hills of central India for more than two years and repeatedly eluded capture was shot and killed by hunters after one of the most intensive tiger hunts in recent memory, officials said.

The female tiger, given the name T-1 by forest rangers, was blamed for the deaths of at least 13 villagers before she was killed late Friday. The plan had been to tranquilize her. But according to the hunters who tried to capture her, she roared and charged after being hit by a tranquilizer dart at short range.

Villagers in the area erupted in joy when they heard about her death, shooting off firecrackers, passing out sweets and pumping their fists in the air.

Wildlife activists were outraged. “This is a coldblooded murder,” said Jerryl Banait, who had gone to India’s Supreme Court in an attempt to force the authorities to spare the tiger’s life and capture her instead.

A man-eating tiger on the loose may sound like something out of a Kipling story. But it’s a very real — and growing — problem in India today.

The country’s effort to protect tigers, in a way, is a victim of its own success. India’s critically endangered tiger population is soaring. Closer monitoring, new technology and stricter wildlife laws have led to a sharp increase in the tiger count, from 1,411 in 2006 to an estimated 2,500 today.

Many tigers are running out of space, spilling out of their dedicated reserves, roaming along highways and skulking through crowded farmland.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Hari Kumar and Jeffrey Gettleman

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