BENGALURU: In the wake of recent killings of humans by tigers in the Nagarahole-Bandipur area, forest officials say there could be a rise in man-tiger conflicts in the coming days. With the tiger population estimated to be 250 in a combined area of 1,500 sq km, these two protected areas have almost one tiger per 7 sq km. The area may see a further rise in the number of tigers, as the breeding population of the big cat is very high.
Earlier, there was one tiger per 10sq km, which has gone up to one tiger per 7sq km. With this, wildlife managers face the dilemma of finding a solution to the recurring human-tiger conflict. Chief wildlife warden C Jayaram told TNIE, “Both Bandipur and Nagarhole have seen a substantial rise in the number of tigers, and the situation is similar to Jim Corbett National Park. If we have to relocate, ‘where’ is the question? This has been done in the north, but has not been successful. We will definitely see conflicts and have to find a solution. There is no scope for expansion of either Nagarahole or Bandipur. Maybe towards Sathyamangalam, Tamil Nadu, or Wayanad, Kerala as the other boundary towards Brahmagiri is landlocked with coffee plantations.”
Tigers on the prowl
With D B Kuppe in Nagarahole being the most affected, forest officials have found that since 2018, two deformed male tigers have been sharing a common area. “As per our investigation, there are two tigers, and both have eye/limb deformities. Pugmarks, camera trap pics and postmortem matching with footprints, have revealed that the captured tiger had killed two persons."
"This is a definite conclusion. Although it had killed people, it was not a maneater. Such incidents happen when they come very close to humans,” said an official. The forest department’s probe has further revealed that this tiger had eaten the leftovers of a prey killed by the other tiger. It had shared the ‘kill’ of the other tiger not once, but several times. The other tiger (blind in the left eye) too had killed cattle.